And Then There Were None

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And Then There Were None

And Then There Were None, a play that went through many trials to become a fully realized play production. Any play goes through many trials to be produced. There’s the script and of course finding all the right people to put the show together i.e. directors, producers, actors. But what challenges did this play go through?

And Then There Were None is based off of an Agatha Christie book, one of the world’s greatest crime writers. When Agatha was approached about making this book into a play by Reginald Simpson she at first refused because she wanted to write it into a play herself. After two years of trying to write the script she came upon the discovery that she would need to re-write the ending.

In the book all of the characters died and Christie realized that she would need to allow two of them to live. In fact she said of the characters that, “I must make two of the characters innocent, to be reunited at the end and come safe out of the ordeal.” Christie based the book off of a nursery rhyme where the ending line is, “He got married and then there were none”. This line allowed Christie the freedom to change the ending and still be true to her writing.

Upon finishing the script the next challenge was finances. Many people didn’t think that anyone would produce it and Christie even struggled finding financial backers. After receiving encouragement from Charles Cochrane, Christie was able to find a backer, Bertie Mayer, who had produced the stage production of her book Alibi.

The play opened on November 17 and ran for 260 performances before the theatre, the St James Theatre, was bombed in 1944. It was moved to the Cambridge Theatre on February 29 and ran through May 6. On May 9 the show was moved back to the newly restored St James Theatre and closed on the 1st of January.

Every show has its challenges and And Then There Were None had a couple of doozies. Despite the obstacles the show had a very successful run, and while Christie did not consider this to be her greatest play she did say it was her best piece of “craftsmanship”. This play is also the play that set up her career as a playwright.

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