Behind the Scenes of Castaways Repertory Theatre’s “Murder on the Nile”

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By Gianna Jirak

Prince William is chock full of theatrical experiences. We have drama programs at multiple high schools, shows at the Hylton Performing Arts Center and local community theater companies, including Castaways Repertory Theatre.

Castaways’s 2019-2020 season is just starting. To usher in the fall, they are presenting Murder on the Nile, a theatrical adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Death on the Nile.

The Plot and the Cast

The murder-mystery play centers around an heiress, Kay Ridgeway, who is played by Jasmine Clark, and Simon, her new husband, who is played by Woodbridge Senior High School student Kieran Weldon. The newlywed couple are on a cruise up the Nile for their honeymoon, and a murder soon interrupts their marital bliss. It’s a classic Agatha Christie ‘whodunit’ that will leave audiences guessing who the real killer is.

“It’s a really good story. Agatha Christie writes wonderfully. When I read the play, I wasn’t sure who did it myself until I got to the end,” said Jill Jago, the director of the production.

Jago is a first-time director for Castaways and a two-time actress in previous Castaways productions. She got her start as a costume designer at Woodbridge High School, eventually directing a one-act called When Shakespeare’s Ladies Meet. 

In addition to Jago, there’s also Bob Cohen, who is the dialect coach, assistant director and actor, who plays Captain McNaught in the show. This is Cohen’s second time acting in a Castaways production and first time as an assistant director/dialect coach. He got his start in theater in the company’s 2006 production of Rumors.

“I think we’re putting an interesting spin on Murder on the Nile. We’ve added more humor to it, it’s much more entertaining, it’s better for a wider range of audience,” said Cohen, “There’s more characterization than what you would expect from a typical murder mystery.”

While Cohen and Jago run the show behind the scenes, Woodbridge Senior High School senior Kieran Weldon, who plays the leading man Simon, runs the stage. He got into theater during his freshman year, after auditioning for a production of A Christmas Carol and later perfoinged in a production of Othello.

“I think people should come see this production because it’s fantastic,” said Weldon, “I think people who come will have this wonderful time of ‘OK, so who is the murderer?’”

Show Information

If you want to spend a night off your phone and on the edge of your seat, come see the play at the Dr. A.J. Ferlazzo Building in Woodbridge on Sept. 27 and 28 and Oct. 4, 5, 11 and 12 at 8:00 p.m. Catch matinees on Sept. 29 and Oct. 6 and 13 at 2:00 p.m.

Tickets are $15 dollars for adults, $8 for children 12 and under, and $12 dollars for seniors (55+), students, military and Prince William County employees with a valid ID.

So, take a break from the hustle and bustle of normal life, and come out and support our local community theater. You just might find your new passion!

Gianna Jirak is an intern/contributing writer for Prince William Living.

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