“The Game’s Afoot” concludes recent performances

Nat Leon and Gwen Sihanath

Murder, mystery, and amusement were brought to the stage this semester during Elgin Community College’s production of “The Game’s Afoot”.

Originally written by Ken Ludwig, the play is about an actor, William Gillette, who invites a group of performers to his mansion for Christmas Eve. Although the performers believe that they are gathered to enjoy the holiday, Gillette intends to uncover who previously tried to shoot him. Gillette’s character is based on a real performer who co-wrote a production of Sherlock Holmes with Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

“There are attempted murders, murders, and hiding bodies, lots of secrets, lots of mystery, but also lots of fun,” said Susan A. Robinson, the director of the play. 

Robinson explains that she picks productions that are socially relevant and will teach the audience a lesson. In the case of this semester, she felt that people needed to take a break from dealing with the pandemic. She decided that a light-hearted, fun show was the best option, so she chose “The Game’s Afoot.”

Tyler Jaymes Marhofke, the actor who portrayed Simon Bright, believed that the goal of helping people relax and have a good time was achieved. 

“I think the audience managed to get a nice stress-reliever. It’s a fun play that made the audience laugh and probably just released them from any of their problems for a couple hours,” Marhofke said.

Marhofke describes his character, Simon Bright, as a charmer who is always trying to make people laugh. He explains that while he identifies with the humorous personality, there are certain differences between him and his character.

“Well, I’m not trying to kill anybody first of all,” Marhofke said.                                                                                                                                                               

Brett Barry, the actor who portrayed William Gillette, relates to his character because they are both actors and case investigators, although he finds Gillette to be more eccentric than he is.

Robinson describes the struggles that come with working on a comedy production. She explains that pacing and timing are important to keep the play engaging and funny. 

“Every moment is like a partnership between the audience and the actors, that’s the other tough thing about comedy. It’s not just a show that you’re presenting, it’s a show that you’re inviting the audience to join you in and you have to adjust to what the audience does and doesn’t do,” Robinson said.

Barry also expressed that the physical aspect of the comedy was a new challenge.

“Always being on the stage you really have to have an understanding of what’s going on at all times and have that awareness. This is also a very physical-based comedy, so we have stage combat and we have things choreographed to make sure we are safe,” Barry said.

Robinson said that the shows went well, and her favorite part of the process of directing is watching the actors’ progression from day one to showtime. She enjoys watching them improve in their performances and figure out the comedy. 

“My favorite part was meeting the cast, they really were just an exceptional group of people and I felt really honored to share that experience with them. The crew too, honestly, the crew was amazing,” Marhofke said.

Barry shares a similar sentiment as Marhofke when he describes how the play showed him how individuals who come together and form a collective can produce something beautiful. Barry also describes the gratification that comes with performing.

“There’s a feeling of satisfaction that comes from knowing the lines in the script and then bringing them to life. Understanding the writer’s intention is part of the actor’s duty as a performer. I just enjoy taking something that’s meant to be made into art and then carrying that out as an actor,” Barry said.