Tonawanda News — In all his years of writing and adapting shows for the stage, L. Don Swartz had never considered the world of Sherlock Holmes — until now.
Swartz said he was working on another show and “couldn’t do anything with it” when a college student suggested Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s Holmes stories and novels. He was at first uninterested, but read Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” — and was hooked.
About two years later, Swartz’s world-premiere adaptation of Doyle’s “The Hound of the Baskervilles” will open at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Ghostlight Theatre, 170 Schenck St., North Tonawanda. Performances will continue at 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays through March 8, with a 2 p.m. matinee March 9.
“Ten pages in, I absolutely fell in love with how he writes,” Swartz said of Doyle’s work. “It’s so adaptable and so theatric that it was a joy to adapt. It’s all new to me. I’m so grateful she said, ‘Hey, read his stuff.’ “
The novel, dealing with a mystery wrapped around the legend of a diabolical hound at Dartmoor in England and the famous detective’s investigation of the situation, was first serialized in The Strand Magazine in 1901 and 1902. The story has been done and redone in dozens of radio, film and television adaptations, but Swartz said he tries to bring “the passion of discovering something new” to his version.
“My point of view is that I’m going to introduce this to half the audience, maybe more,” he said. “To say, this is not some boring, old English, stuffy drawing room thing. That’s what kept me going, to share my discovery of it.
“If we can get some people to say ‘Ah ha! No wonder this has been around so long’ ... It’s just wonderful storytelling.”