PaperHouse Theatre’s performances at the Frock Shop on Central Avenue are an intimate affair. Actors are inches away; the audience, although not exactly part of the production, is an integral part of the experience. Audience members move with the characters as they perform in other parts of the shop. My introverted-self even danced on the front lawn. You can’t hide when the “crowd” is just 20-30 people.
Nicia Carla, PaperHouse’s director, develop scripts that are unpredictable, funny and thoughtful. When “The Sherlock Project” was announced, I was excited. Sherlock Holmes is one of my favorite literary characters. Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s books stay under my bed for easy access.
Carla and her team of creatives – Kelly Nicholson, Andrea King, Jenn Grabenstetter, Angie C, MB Schaffer, Chaz Pofahl and Karina Caporino – meet weekly in Carla’s living room to develop the “The Sherlock Project” script. Her dog, Dr. Watson, looks for snuggles while the team hammers out the details of the script.
The team made the decision to make Sherlock Holmes a woman.
“We want to unexpected ways of making things more inclusive,” Carla said. “What if Sherlock was a woman? How would that change the story?” The group decided they want to explore how Holmes’ non-emotional, cold, direct, bold and non-apologetic manner will play out with actor Andrea King in the role.
Don’t expect a heavy message in “The Sherlock Project.” It will be a mashup of a few of Doyle’s stories with the option for audience participation – I was promised I wouldn’t have to dance on the front lawn again.
“None of this has changed because Sherlock is a woman,” Angie C said. “It’s a woman playing it [role of Sherlock] but (the audience) still gets all of that nuance and intrigue that makes Sherlock so loveable. It’s another way we are just showing you gender roles are dumb without having to say that.”
Grab a ticket to “The Sherlock Project” or one of these other local productions:
A Night of Shakespeare, sort of, Johnson C Smith University Theater Department
The Arts Factory, 1545 W. Trade St.
Tickets: $5 donation, JCSU students free with ID
Details: Two contemporary one act comedies with a bit of a Shakespeare thrown in.(Contact Christian Casper at 704-330-1363 or email@example.com for more information.)
HOP, DROP & PLAY: Shakespeare in A Day, Chickspeare
April 21, 8 p.m.
Camp North End, 1824 Statesville Avenue
Details: The women of Chickspeare will write, audition, cast, rehearse and perform six plays in a single day. Drink beer from NoDa Brewing Company and see the result of 24 hours of Shakespeare madness. All proceeds benefit Chickspeare’s upcoming productions and educational programs in the 2018-2019 season.
The Sherlock Project, PaperHouse Theatre
April 26-May 12, 8 p.m.
Frock Shop, 901 Central Ave.
Much Ado About Nothing
April 27-May 19
Jetton Village in Cornelius
Details: Shakespeare’s romantic comedy has almost too many shenanigans to follow.
The Mermaid Hour, Actors Theatre of Charlotte
April 27-May 19
Hadley Theater at Queens University, 1900 Selwyn Ave.
Details: “The Mermaid Hour” tackles parenting and relationship issues with parents raising their tween daughter, Vi.
Barbecue Apocalypse, Charlotte’s Off-Broadway
Warehouse Performing Arts Center, 9216 Westmoreland Avenue, Cornelius
Tickets: $25-$30 (on sale after April 16)
Details: Three couples gather on the back deck of a modest suburban home for a mid-summer barbecue where the hosts struggle with feelings of inadequacy about their home decor, clothes, careers, culinary skills and everything else. As the world literally falls apart during their terrible, little barbecue, the only way to measure success is by survival or extinction.
Every Brilliant Thing, Three Bone Theatre
Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College Street, 28202
May 17-19 and 24-26, 8:00pm
Details: “Every Brilliant Thing” is making its Charlotte debut after successful runs in London’s West End, Off-Broadway, and a special presentation on HBO. It’s been called “one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see about depression—and possibly one of the funniest plays you’ll ever see, full stop.”
Donna Scott Productions Short Play Festival, Donna Scott Productions
Charlotte Art League, 4100 Raleigh Street
May 18, 19 at 8pm
Details: Donna Scott Productions is taking submissions for this short play festival. They are looking for short plays with a central female character and that allow for diverse casting and be about art. They will choose six to eight plays to present.
Purlie Victorious, BNS Productions
May 31-June 9
Duke Energy Theater at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St Charlotte NC
2 p.m., May 5, West Charlotte Recreation Center, 2401 Kendall Dr.
10 a.m., May 11, Methodist Home Recreation Center, 3200 Shamrock Dr.
1 p.m., May 12, Sugar Creek Library, 4045 N. Tryon St. Suite A
1 p.m., May 19, Tuckaseegee Recreation Center, 4820 Tuckaseegee Rd.
Details: “Purlie Victorious” is a comedy written by the late Ossie Davis and set in an era when Jim Crow laws were still in effect in the South. Traveling preacher Purlie Victorious Judson returns to his hometown in Georgia hoping to save the community church and emancipate the cotton pickers who work on oppressive Ol’ Cap’n Cotchipee’s plantation.
Appropriate, Three Bone Theatre
Duke Energy Theatre at Spirit Square, 345 N. College St.
July 12-14 and 19-21 at 8:00pm
Details: The Lafayette family returns home for their father’s funeral and an unexpected discovery is made. “Appropriate” is the winner of the Obie Award for Best New American Play and is recommended for ages 18 and over.
Photos: Chad Calvert, Courtesy of Three Bone Theatre, Courtesy of BNS Productions, Courtesy of Charlotte’s Off-Broadway