SHOW TITLE: A Study in Emerald
PRODUCER: Conundrum Collective
SHOW DESCRIPTION: The worlds of Sherlock Holmes & HP Lovecraft collide, as an ensemble cast brings Neil Gaiman?s award winning story to life with music, live sound FX, and projections. Solve a mystery, engage your imagination.
WHAT CAUGHT MY INTEREST: I’m a fan of the original story, and actually own a copy of the collection it first appeared in (Shadows Over Baker Street).
INTERVIEWEE: Derek Dirlam (director/performer)
Just who do you think you are, anyway?
We are the Conundrum Collective, a group of artists with various backgrounds including theater, music, graphic art, and sound design. We started unofficially back in 2013, performing as the ‘in-house company’ of the Historic Mounds Theatre in St. Paul. One of our focuses has been producing shows in the style of Live Radio Theater, and have performed shows such as ‘War of the Worlds’ (both the classic Orson welles version, and our own adaptation), ‘A Christmas Carol,’ and numerous one-act live radio plays including ‘Nightfall’ from Isaac Asimov, ‘Zero Hour’ from Ray Bradbury, and ‘Three Skeleton Key’ from Escape Radio. Our other focus is to produce theater that fits into more of the Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Mystery, and Horror genres. Because, well, we are huge fans! And there are a lot of great, imaginative, and sometimes terrifying, stories available that can be adapted/performed as live theater.
So what’s the big idea?
We are performing an adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s award winning short story ‘A Study in Emerald.’ The story takes the famous Sherlock Holmes of Arthur Conan Doyle, and places him in an H.P. Lovecraft inspired 1880s London. The result is a Sherlock Holmes mystery, that has a darker, more terrifying mystery beneath. We are staging the show in a ‘story-telling theater’ style, with a Narrator to help set the scene (and often stepping into it), and an ensemble of actors performing multiple roles, who help to populate our ‘Victorian-Noir’ world. To add to the story-telling, we have a team of Foley artists providing live sound effects that accompany the action, graphic projections from a local artist, and music composed for the show.
How did you come up with a screwy idea like that?
Several members of our group are huge fans of Neil Gaiman, Sherlock Holmes, and H.P. Lovecraft. (Actually I think Everyone in the group is at least a huge fan of one of those three.) After discovering that Neil Gaiman wrote a story combining both H.P. Lovecraft and Sherlock Holmes, it seemed like a perfect fit. The original story itself felt about the right length for Fringe, so that made it easier to preserve most of the original text. And it is personally one of my favorite texts of Neil Gaiman.
Why should I care?
If you are a fan of Sherlock, Lovecraft, Neil Gaiman, (or all three!!), or if you like a good mystery (even a mystery within a mystery), or something that engages your imagination, I think you’ll enjoy ‘A Study in Emerald.’ We preserve a lot of the original text, so even those who are familiar with the story, I think will be very pleased to see it come to life in front of them.
Justify your show’s existence in haiku form.
See if Sherlock Holmes
Can stay sane after meeting
Our Lord Cthulhu
Questions? Comments? Enraged invective? Check out my answers to occasionally asked questions in Notes on Notes, or the contact info linked from that page!