As a bookworm, I cannot tell you how incredibly happy it made me feel to finally see a favourite murder mystery on stage in Dhaka on the eve of 25 July, at the National Hall, Bangladesh Shilpakala Academy.
Agatha Christie, known as the queen of crime, has written 66 detective novels, becoming one of the bestselling novelists of all time. Of the 66 mysteries she has written, ‘And Then There Were None’ is the most popular.
How she managed to create and write about the perfect crime in 1939 is a mystery, even in the 21st century.
When the Open Space Theatre team reached out to Agatha Christie Limited for rights to bring ‘And Then There Were None’ to theatre here in Dhaka, they were more than eager to. They were proud to learn that Christie’s work was not only reaching South Asia, but also being appreciated on stage.
After the huge success of 12 Angry Men, director M Arifur Rahman got down to work with translating and writing the script to bring the story to life, along with the help of Mahjabin Chowdhury, the organiser of the show.
Ashiq Rahman Leeon set up the grand stage of the inside of a mansion for the night, complete with a balcony, a terrace, a fireplace and staircases and a bar.
The play starts with a gramophone playing a recording accusing each of the attendees of murder. This ensues chaos and blood. The music was timed to match the moods of the scene while the lights were adjusted to indicate the time of the day; the actors delivered their lines smoothly without a flaw. The audience was completely immersed in their performance, impressive feat considering the majority of the actors were performing for the very first time.
I was so mesmerised by the play that my mind was still buzzing from the grandeur and theatrical wonderment long after the show was over. However, they added a little twist in the end that would have worked if this was not already the perfect crime written in literature history. Altering the premise of Christie’s plot nullifies the very core that established the book’s title of the perfect crime.
After reading the book and watching the series, I could not imagine the story on a live stage. Surely, it is too complex, or so I thought. But I was left in awe at how well executed it was for a premiere. From the delivery of the dialogues, the unique personalities to the details and the clues, almost every single scene was well planned. Keeping in mind the excellence of Open Space Theatre’s past works, we can only imagine what they have in store for their future shows. It only gets better from here.