“Crucifer of Blood” will run Feb. 18-19 and 25-26 at 8 p.m. in Judd Theatre
A Sherlock Holmes play will be the first theater production of the spring for Oklahoma Christian University. “The Crucifer of Blood” was written by Paul Giovanni, whose inspiration for the new mystery was Arthur Conan Doyle’s story “The Sign of the Four.”
According to professor Phil Reagan, Sherlock Holmes is popular again, which factored in his decision to direct the show.
“There are many games and apps, all related to the recent movie, which will have a sequel in December,” Reagan said. “In addition, there are a number of TV shows that replicate ideas from Sherlock Holmes, such as “Monk” and “House,” not to mention “Sherlock” on PBS, which focuses on a young Holmes, as our production does.”
The play occurs early in Holmes’ career, in 1887. He is just out of college and has recently met Watson. The play has only one female character, Irene St. Claire, but she has a large role. St. Claire hires Holmes to investigate the sinister compact that her father and his associates made 30 years earlier after finding a cursed treasure chest in India.
“The story is pretty wild and fast-paced, which is fun for the audience,” Reagan said. “Another reason I wanted to direct this show is because it’s a technical challenge, There are a lot of special effects. And, as far as I know, this show has never been done in Oklahoma.
“One character has a wooden leg, so displaying that to the audience in a way that is convincing and safe has been quite a challenge. Other technical difficulties include setting the scene for a smoky opium den, as well as recreating a boat chase on the River Thames.”
The special effects would not be possible without the work of Jason Foreman, the guest designer for the show who serves at the resident designer at Oklahoma City University.
However, Reagan said the iconic characters are what make the play most enjoyable.
“Sherlock Holmes is the most recognized fictional character in the history of English literature,” he said. “There have been more than 240 versions of Sherlock Holmes through books, movies and plays. There are more reincarnations than the works of Shakespeare.”
The two male leads for Oklahoma Christian’s production are freshmen. Sherlock Holmes is played by Brandt Nevin, from Bellevue, Wa. Watson is played by Christian Asbill, from Grapevine, Texas. Irene St. Claire is played by Ashley Lissolo, a senior from Keller, Texas.
In addition, the play has 16 characters from four countries, with many of the actors playing two parts with different accents.
“We wanted to keep the cast close, giving the production more of an ensemble feel,” Reagan said. “It also allows our younger actors the chance to get more work and to grow. We also think it makes the production more fun for the audience.”
“The Crucifer of Blood” runs Feb. 18-19 and 25-26 at 8 p.m. in Judd Theater on the Oklahoma Christian campus. It is suitable for ages 12 and up. To purchase tickets, call the ticket office at 405-425-5540. The ticket office is open 4-6 p.m. Monday through Friday and an hour before show time. Tickets are $8 general admission. Group rates are available. Admission is free for all OC students and staff with a valid I.D.