The first production of the 2022-2023 Paris Junior College Drama season of “Weird Science” opens Thursday with the family-friendly show “Sherlock Holmes and the First Baker Street Irregular.”
Brian Guehring wrote the play based on the works of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and runs from Oct. 6 to Oct. 8 at 7:30 pm and 2:30 pm on Oct. 9 on the Duane Allen Stage in the Ray E. Karrer Theater.
“We have people in the play from age eight to not disclosed,” said PJC Drama Instructor Robyn Huizinga, play director. “It’s a fantastic cast; we have our faculty, students, and community members. It is a good way to introduce kids to Sherlock Holmes and what mysteries are, how to look for clues, solve them, and put everything together. So it’s a fun way to get kids to think critically.”
On a dare from her fellow street urchins, 14-year-old Wiggins tries to pickpocket a strange older man. Not only is Wiggins unsuccessful, but the older man, Sherlock Holmes in disguise, manages to take the gold ring in Wiggins’ pocket and leave behind a note directing her where to go to get it back. When Wiggins goes to 221B Baker Street to retrieve the ring, she is shocked to find out how much Holmes knows about her based on a quick observation. After Wiggins sees Holmes use the ring to solve a case, Wiggins proposes to work as his assistant. Intrigued by her potential, Holmes agrees to begin training Wiggins on a trial basis, so long as she helps Mrs. Hudson with the chores. Wiggins and Holmes must learn to trust each other as Wiggins, and her group of street urchins helps him solve two dangerous mysteries: The Red-Headed League and The Adventure of the Blue Carbuncle.
“I’ve really enjoyed it,” said Hannah Huie, who plays Horner. “It’s really fun, especially for the little kids. They seem excited to be on stage. It’s a comedic play and fresh with humor. It’s children-friendly. I’ve never seen anything with Sherlock Holmes, and it’s been entertaining to see his comedic side.”
Sara Pacifici is from Italy and plays Mary, a shop assistant who is friends with a member of the Baker Street Irregulars.
“This is my first big play in English,” said Pacifici. “I’m used to Italian, but it’s a lot of fun, and I’m excited about the play.”
“I love seeing the progress that’s been made,” said Jordan White, a drama student serving as assistant stage manager. “It’s been a great time witnessing it.”
Tickets are available by cash or check at the door. General tickets are $15, senior citizens/students are $10, children ten and under are $5, and those with current PJC ID are free. In addition, dramatic Publishing Company of Woodstock, Illinois, has given special arrangements for the play’s production.
Sarah J’Nelle Curtis as Sherlock Holmes; Frederic Adam Doss as Dr. Watson; Lisa Martin as Mrs. Hudson; William Walker as Lestrade; Brenna Mills as Wiggins; Ella Doss as Toby; Addison Brown as Anna; Meagan Martinez as George; Truly Hubbard as Lucy; Audrey Hobbs as Oliver; Kaleb Speakman as Hope; Aria Scroggins as Constable; Nate Sipe as Wilson; Bodee Robinson as Spaulding; Sara Pacifici as Mary; Willow Clayton as Ross; Lucia Bunch as Merryweather; Celia Hagler as Landlady; Stan McMahan as Baker; Hannah Huie as Horner; Justice Mcmenamy as Ryder; Ollivia Stiles as Catherine; Carlton Bell as Breckinridge; and Toughs – Natalie Cowles, Karma Haverwas, Meagan Martinez, Addison Brown
Director, Robyn R. Huizinga; Stage Manager Mentor, Will Walker; Stage Manager, Dee Jackson; and Assistant Stage Manager, Jordan White.