iTheatre Saratoga premieres “The Stranger”

Agatha Christie works moves into the limelight
Enid (Mary Jane Hansen), left, and Mrs. Huggins (Anny DeGange) in "The Stranger."
Enid (Mary Jane Hansen), left, and Mrs. Huggins (Anny DeGange) in "The Stranger."

The life and work of Agatha Christie have long been celebrated both by bibliophiles and thespians alike. With a vast collection of short stories, plays and novels, Christie has chilled, inspired and entertained many over the years. 

While most of her works are exceedingly well known, there is one that has yet to have its time in the limelight, “The Stranger,” which iTheatre Saratoga brings to the stage on January 25.  

According to Jared Cade, an Agatha Christie expert, Christie wrote “The Stranger” off of her short story “Philomel Cottage.” However, a playwright and actor named Frank Vosper read it and decided to change it to create more of a role for himself. Thus, “Love From a Stranger,” was produced in 1936. 

 “Frank Vosper, who was already a playwright, rewrote ‘The Stranger’ in order to turn it into a star vehicle for himself and so the three-act play ‘Love from a Stranger’ was borne in order to showcase his talents,” Cade said in an email to iTheatre, “You can see Agatha Christie’s dilemma. It was better to have a play put on bearing her name even if it was wasn’t entirely her work. Frank Vosper re-wrote her dialogue to suit himself.”

“The Stranger” was put away for decades. It wasn’t until late in 2017 that it was unearthed, said Will Severin, the president of iTheatre of Saratoga. 

That’s when iTheatre got ahold of it. Although there have been a few amateur theaters that have produced the play, according to Severin, iTheatre’s production will constitute a professional theater world premiere. 

“To be able to say that you’re producing an Agatha Christie play that, professionally-speaking has never been produced before is amazing,” Severin said.

It’s also timely, said Severin and Mary Jane Hansen, the artistic director and the lead actress in the production. 

“The Stranger,” follows the story of Enid, a woman who has accepted what she views as a “last chance” marriage proposal. But then a handsome stranger comes into her life, offering her another path, one that might not be as blissful as it seems. 

The play brings to life the idea of the confidence man, the sort that are often in the headlines today. It also plays with the trope of “love at first sight.” 

“The Stranger” might surprise audience members because of its genre. 

“It’s more of a thriller than a mystery,” Severin said. 

The cast is small, with only five roles, so it’ll be an intimate show in some ways. Severin is also composing the soundtrack for the production, making it more of a customized show.

Directed by Patricia B. Synder, the production will run at 7:30 p.m. on Fri. Jan. 25, Sat. Jan. 26, Fri. Feb. 1, Sat. Feb. 2 at the Riggi Theatre at the National Museum of Dance in Saratoga Springs. There will also be a showing at 2 p.m. on Sun. Feb. 3. 

Tickets are $15 for students and $25 for adults. For more information and tickets visit

Categories: Entertainment

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