The Christendom Players brought Agatha Christie’s famed mystery Murder on the Nile to life onstage this past weekend, November 19-21, 2021. The college’s annual fall play provided a thrilling weekend of entertainment for the local community, complete with enthralling twists, an impressive set, and riveting performances from the Christendom Players, showcasing the best theatrical talent Christendom has to offer.
Directed by alumna Elizabeth Foeckler, Murder on the Nile marked the fifth Christendom Players production of an Agatha Christie play. Based on Christie’s own stage adaption of her popular novel, Murder on the Nile follows Christie protagonist Canon Pennefather as he investigates a murder while in Egypt, with a colorful cast of characters appearing throughout the play.
“While Agatha Christie’s book Death on the Nile has a significantly more depressing ending, the play she adapted from her book has an ending with a lot more hope— and that is something that I think everyone could use a little more of: hope,” said Foeckler. “This show was really fun to do because it pushed some of the actors into challenging roles. Agatha Christie’s characters can be difficult because often there is a character wearing a mask on top of a mask. So, there’s a lot of subtlety involved in some of these roles, and I was so proud of how the actors worked to achieve that.”
The play marked the first Christendom Players production to welcome back audiences from outside the Christendom community since 2019, with Sunday’s performance completely selling out. Seeing people from across Virginia travel for a Christendom production was validation for all the hard work, said Foeckler, in addition to the quality of Christendom productions.
“As an actor, part of the process is learning how to give a great show to even the tiniest of audiences, but there’s something undeniable about the energy that a full crowd gives to a group of actors. Being able to tell the students this is an open show again, and seeing how excited they were, and seeing then how they responded on stage to the crowd was awesome. You just don’t get the same energy from a camera that is live-streaming a show that you do from a live audience, so I am so happy that the students have that back.”
The Christendom Players are a student-run group that performs two theatrical productions a year, once in the fall and once in the spring. In the past, the group has performed Les Miserables, The Crucible, The Drowsy Chaperone, Hello, Dolly!, Anything Goes, and other elaborate productions.