The Heights

Updated: September 12, 2016

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Theatre Arts stages Agatha Christie’s Appointment with Death

In celebration of Agatha Christie’s 125th anniversary year, the Foothill College Theatre Arts Department presents Appointment with Death May 27–June 12 in the Lohman Theatre at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills. The show’s three-week run includes Thursday performances on June 2 and 9 at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday shows are May 27–28, June 3–4 and June 10–11 at 8 p.m. Sunday matinees are June 5 and 12 at 2 p.m.

Directed by Foothill Theatre Arts Instructor Janis Bergmann, M.A., Appointment with Death introduces audiences to a colorful assortment of tourists on vacation in the Holy Land. Suddenly, the sojourn is interrupted by a suspicious death among the travellers. The victim, a controlling and sadistic tyrant, was universally despised. Now everyone is a suspect.

The popularity of mysteries, especially those written by Christie, speaks to our delight in solving puzzles and playing along as armchair detectives, Bergmann says. “We love justice to be served just about as much as we love the satisfaction that comes when loose ends are neatly tied up. As for Agatha Christie, it’s no coincidence that she is fondly referred to as the Queen of Crime. She is a master of deception and suspense, embellishing her intricate murder plots with well-rounded and fascinating characters.”

Developing characters that intrigue the audience and keep the play’s suspense moving ever forward until that satisfying reveal has been a collaborative effort between Bergmann and the 18-member cast. “This production is perfectly cast with actors who beautifully fill the shoes of intricately drawn characters,” she says. “To help the actors build suspense throughout the show, we’ve spent many hours developing each character’s unique backstory. We’ve asked ourselves what events have led these characters to the present day? What makes them tick? What are their passions, desires and fears? And most importantly, who can they trust?”

Filled with mystery, budding romances, a devilish plan, lively fun, and an ending with a twist, Foothill’s production of the classic whodunit features Jorge Diaz of East Palo Alto; Phil Austin, Kathryn Han and Kelly Endersby of Los Altos; Danny Martin of Millbrae; Sam Nachison, Missy Lyons and Fredric Lagerblad of Mountain View; Bill Dwan of Palo Alto; Megan McNulty, Sean Okuniewicz, Peter Spoelstra, Mark Parado, Lexi Velazquez and Katrina Guevarra of San Jose; Brittany Pisoni of San Mateo; Kyle Dayrit of Sunnyvale; and Darlene Batchelder of Woodside. The production includes scenic design by Bruce McLeod, costume design by Shannon Maxham and assistant direction by Lori Grass and Jessica Do.

“We want audiences to play along on this intriguing adventure,” Bergmann says. “See if you can figure out ‘whodunit’ as you enjoy an entertaining performance of live theatre.”

A faculty member and costume designer at Foothill since 1982, as well as an actor and director, Bergmann has won numerous Bay Area Theatre Critic's Circle and Dean Goodman Choice Awards for her work. She teaches classes in stage and camera acting, auditioning, theatrical makeup, directing and performance. In addition to teaching and directing a variety of plays at Foothill, Bergmann has acted, directed, designed and taught throughout the Bay Area and Los Angeles. A member of the Actor's Equity Association, some of Bergmann’s local theatre credits include performances at San Jose Repertory Theatre, San Jose Stage Company, TheatreWorks, Los Altos Stage Company and Playhouse West.

Tickets to all Thursday performances are $10. Additional ticket prices are $20, general admission; $15, seniors, students and Foothill-De Anza employees with identification; and $10, OwlCard holders and Foothill staff (in-person purchase required). To purchase tickets, visit or call (650) 949-7360.

Parking lots 1 and 8 provide the best access to the theatre. Purchase parking permit for $3 at dispensers in any student lot. Dispensers accept credit/debit cards and cash. For more information, visit


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