Sunday, May 15, 2016

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's Sherlock Holmes and the Case of the American Twins

The Baker Street Players will present the world premiere of Chelsea Quinn Yarbro's play Sherlock Holmes and the Case of The American Twins on Fridays and Saturdays between May 20th and June 11th. The venue, Baker Street West, is located on the second floor above Hein & Company Bookstore at 204 Main Street, Jackson, CA 95642. Beth Barnard is directing the limited run. Hein & Company co-owner Linda Hein is producing the show.

Contact:  Hein at  209-223-2215 or for tickets. 

Sherlock Holmes and The Case of The American Twins is a traditional Sherlockian adventure that begins, as one always seems to, at 221B Baker Street where a distressed female client (Miss Phoebe Dillingham) consults with Mr. Holmes and Dr. Watson on the whereabouts of her twin brother.  What follows is a trail that leads to Mycroft Holmes (Sherlock's more intelligent brother) and on to Colonel Collins (retired intelligence officer from the Army) who sends Sherlock to Madam Flora Yao (a provocative connoisseur of information).  The denouement of the case turns ruckus in Mrs. Hudson's sitting room and yet there is more . . .

Baker Street West is a Victorian tribute to Sherlock Holmes. The setting includes eight storefronts relating to characters or subjects drawn directly from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's four novels and 56 short stories of Sherlock Holmes. It is an event-oriented venue that includes eight retail storefronts and a recreation of Sherlock Holmes' flat:  221B Baker Street.

An interview with Chelsea Quinn Yarbro
(Reprinted with permission of Saichek Publicity)

Some people may not realize you began your career writing children's plays. How does it feel to return to this medium?

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: I've written plays since I was eight, and for the last four decades, I do one about every ten years. There's nothing like writing plays to sharpen the ear to dialogue, and I find it refreshing to think theatrically from time to time.

Tell us how your association with Hein & Company and the Baker Street Players came about

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: When my old friends, Cedric and Jan Clute, moved from Volcano to Jackson, they became involved with the Hein & Company Bookstore (the largest used bookstore in northern California), whose owners, Linda and Wolf Hein, were starting a Holmesian society. They put on a play about the Houdini seance, which I attended, and mentioned that they would like to do more productions with ties to Holmesian literature. I had been doing some Tarot readings at the store as part of the publicity for the play and since there was a bit of an opening in my schedule, I offered to do them a Holmesian play --- after all, Bill Fawcett and I had done four Mycroft novels and two Victoire Vernet novels Napoleon Must Die and Death Wears a Crown (Victoire being the Holmes brothers' French grandmother) --- and they could perform it if it suited their purposes. So I wrote the play, and then wrote a novelette from it which is available and the Baker Street Players will be performing it on Friday and Saturday nights from May 20th through June 11th.

What was the inspiration for this play?

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: American Twins arose out of some of the gaps in the Doyle stories about the early days of Sherlock's career, plus I wanted to play around with the underworld of London.

In addition to this play (and the companion "novella-ization" available digitally) you co-wrote the aforementioned novels with Bill Fawcett featuring Mycroft Holmes (Against the Brotherhood, Embassy Row, The Flying Scotsman and The Scottish Ploy). These have been re-released digitally. Why do you think people continue to find the Holmes brothers so fascinating?

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: To me, the Holmes stories are artifacts of the late Victorian era, and as such have social echos that have become iconographic of an age that is just long enough gone that we can be caught up in it as a gesture of affection. I would like to think that the play touches on this aspect of Doyle's original work.

Along those lines, what do you hope Holmes' fans take away with them, after seeing your play or reading the digital story?

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: I hope that the audience/readers enjoys the story and that seeing/reading it was time well spent. When you've been writing as long as I have, you know that what readers/audiences take away from your work may have nothing to do with your intention, but that whatever they find in it, that is what it means to them.

What are you working on now? Do you have any plans to write another play? Will Sherlock Holmes or Mycroft Holmes appear in a new adventure by you, whether it's on-stage or in print?

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro: I'm currently working on the third Chesterton Holte mystery novel (following Haunting Investigation and Living Spectres), and on the 28th Saint-Germain book. I have no plans at this point to do another play, Holmesian or otherwise, but the decade is young and that may change.

Avalerion Books has released Yarbro's "novella-ized" version of The Case of The American Twins in all digital formats. Avalerion also just released Yarbro's original Holmesian story Brother Keeper (not connected with the play).

While she is best known for her historical horror novels featuring the vampire Saint-Germain, Yarbro is no stranger to the Holmes universe. In addition to the above works she and Bill Fawcett co-wrote four novels featuring Mycroft Holmes that are available again digitally: Against the Brotherhood, Embassy Row, The Flying Scotsman and The Scottish Ploy. These four novels were authorized by Dame Jean Conan Doyle.

No comments: