For three nights only, Orcutt Academy High School's multipurpose room will transform into the scene of a ghastly crime for a production of "Sherlock Holmes and the Siege of 221b."
Written by Eric Drazin and adapted by Orcutt Academy drama teacher Michael Shaw, the original story set in the Sherlock Holmes universe follows Holmes (Colin Bailey) and his trusty biographer Dr. John Watson (Andrew Genge) as they find themselves cornered by a criminal known only as “The Firefly.”
The cast and crew have spent the last three months preparing for this week's production, Shaw said, and they are very excited to showcase their work.
"It’s a very good show and very true to Sherlock Holmes," he said. "I think fans and newcomers will really enjoy the production."
The play finds Holmes (Bailey) and Watson (Genge) hot on the trail of capturing the elusive Firefly. As time runs out for the fabled criminal, The Firefly makes one last attempt to evade capture by plotting to take Holmes' life. Set on a cold November evening, a group of strangers -- a chimney sweep, a beggar and more -- pay a visit to 221b Baker Street, the headquarters for Holmes and his partner. A note from The Firefly announcing Holmes' impending death makes Holmes realize that one of the people in his apartment will make an attempt on his life.
"I've always enjoyed speaking in front of people -- it isn't something I'm apprehensive about," Bailey said.
Prior to taking on the role of Holmes, Bailey had never set foot on stage or taken a role in a play. As a relative newcomer to stage performance, Bailey said he spent the last three months immersing himself in the character and world of Sherlock Holmes.
"The toughest thing was getting into character and trying not to forget my lines," he said, adding that he hopes the audience will enjoy the production.
Shaw spoke highly of Bailey's performance as Holmes, saying he has mastered the "careless wonder" of the role.
"He's really become the role of Sherlock," Shaw said. "He honestly wasn’t sure if he was able to fill the role of such an iconic character, but [Bailey] has really redefined the role and rounded out a flat character."
Integral to the production is the dynamic between Holmes (Bailey) and Watson (Genge). Shaw says the two actors demonstrate a mastery of their role and how the two character should interact.
"[Genge] works really hard to make sure he’s the more socially acceptable of the two characters," he said. "He’s trying to play into the social conventions of the time and does a really good job balancing those with his wide-eyed adoration of the [sometimes abrasive] Holmes."
Emily Alvarado, who plays the role of landlady Mrs. Hudson, said she has enjoyed joining the production and working with Bailey and Genge.
"It brings a different energy to our relationships and we have become closer and more friendly," she said. "We get to say lines outside of class while other people have no idea what we're talking about."