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Nicolet Players production of The Game’s Afoot an “enjoyable challenge” for lead actor Angelo Guercio

Oct. 24, 2014

A murder mystery filled with mischievous tomfoolery will unfold on the Nicolet College Theatre stage when the Nicolet Players present The Game’s Afoot Nov. 7 to 9 and again Nov. 13 to 16.

Written by Ken Ludwig, one of this nation’s finest comic playwrights, the story centers around the real-life Broadway star William Gillette, admired the world over for his leading role in the play Sherlock Holmes.

The Game's AfootRehearsals are underway and Angelo Guercio of Eagle River will play the lead role of Gillette.

How are things going? “Fantastic!” said Guercio, who last performed onstage some 20 years ago when he attended Three Lakes High School. “This is a really funny murder mystery with all kinds of twists and turns that make it highly entertaining.”

For years Guercio had been batting around the idea of getting into community theatre. This year he finally did so with lots of encouragement from friends.

“I really enjoyed acting in high school and I absolutely love murder mysteries so I figured this was perfect. It was time to get back on stage.”

The character Guercio plays has personality traits different from his own in everyday life.

“Gillette is very much into himself and wants to be the center of attention. That’s not me, but I was intrigued by the character, the depth of his personality. It’s been a very enjoyable challenge to bring this character to life.”

He added that guidance during rehearsals from Nicolet College Theatre Director Jim Nuttall has been invaluable.

“Jim really understands theatre and how saying things a certain way, the phrasing of the lines, and how to move around on stage can really bring out the nuances of the character,” Guercio said. “He also gives us the room to add our own interpretations of character, which makes it a lot of fun.”

The play is set in 1936. Gillette invites his fellow cast members to his ornate Connecticut castle filled with deceptions for a weekend of revelry. But when one of the guests is stabbed to death, the festivities in this isolated house of tricks and mirrors quickly turn dangerous. Then it’s up to Gillette himself, as he assumes the persona of his beloved Holmes, to track down the killer before the next victim.

As for selecting The Game’s Afoot for the Nicolet Players production, Nuttall said he did so because “it’s one of those rare plays where I’m impressed with everything about it. It has a great storyline with thrills and scares that come out of nowhere and it’s written in a very snappy, quick style that really engages the audience.”

The castle where the story unfolds is filled with illusion. Secret passageways, hidden gadgets, and items that aren’t what they seem are commonplace.

“This was one of the challenges that I really enjoyed when designing the set,” Nuttall explained, being careful not to divulge too much to preserve the surprise factor for people who attend. “Let’s just say we’ll be incorporating some interesting features that people haven’t seen before on the Nicolet stage.”

Performances will take place at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 7 and 8; and Thursday through Saturday Nov. 13 to 15. Sunday performances are at 2 p.m. Nov. 9 and 16.

Tickets are $7 and $9 and can be purchased online at nicoletlive.com or by calling (715) 365-4646 or 1-800-544-3039, ext. 4646.

The Game’s Afoot is part of the 2014-15 Nicolet Live! performing arts series. To view a complete listing of upcoming events, visit nicoletlive.com.

In the photo above, Angelo rehearses a scene with Marlene Kelly Davis, who will play the role of Martha Gillette.