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This article by Jack Florek was prepared for the February 12, 2003 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights reserved.
Yardley Players: `10 Little Indians’
Rupert Hinton is living proof of a slightly skewed
aphorism: Old actors never die, they just get killed again and again.
This is particularly true if they’re starring, as Hinton is, in that
chestnut of a thriller, "Ten Little Indians." Hinton plays
Judge Wargrave in the Yardley Players’ production of "Ten Little
Indians" that continues at the Kelsey Theater, on the campus of
Mercer County College, on Friday and Saturday, February 14 and 15,
at 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 16 at 2 p.m.
"I’m a bad guy and I actually get killed twice in this play,"
says Hinton, who was bitten by the acting bug while growing up near
London, England. Hinton’s mother worked as a tutor and librarian and
his father was a farmer. At age 10, the family moved from the country
into London. Hinton graduated from University College in Wales in
1979 and moved to the United States in the early 1980s.
"I really just wanted to see the country," he says, "but
then I decided to stay. I got a visa because I was a computer programmer
at a time when they were hard to find. It was a fairly straightforward
Following his marriage, theater was placed on the back-burner and
family and the work-a-day world took priority. Rupert and Jennifer
Hinton are the parents of three children, now in grades 12, 10, and
But last year, after 20 years away from the footlights, Hinton made
his return with the Yardley Players Theater Company’s production of
"What I had missed most was the collaborative nature of being
a part of a performance," he says. "In community theater the
actors help out with everything, from taking the flats off the truck
to painting the walls."
Still the experience held some unanticipated surprises. "It wasn’t
quite like riding a bicycle," says Hinton. "After so much
time I was a different person, with a bit more life experience. I
spend more time listening to the other people on stage than I used
to." He also noticed a different range of characters that he was
being offered to play. "Twenty years ago I tended to play youngish
guys dealing with big difficulties," he says. "Now I am more
likely to play their parents."
"Ten Little Indians," based on Agathie Christie’s whodunit
"And Then There Were None," tells the story of 10 guests,
each guilty of a murder for which they escaped prosecution, who are
gathered together for a weekend at a British country mansion. The
thrills come when their mysterious host, unseen and unknown, takes
justice into his own hands by murdering his guests one by one, according
to the lines of the Mother Goose nursery rhyme that hangs over the
fireplace. The play has been adapted for movies three times, in the
1960s, ’70s, and ’80s. "The original stage version had a sad ending,"
says Hinton. "But once the American movie came out with the happy
ending, it got grafted onto the end of the stage play as well."
Hinton, who lives in Princeton, works in Manhattan as a technology
manager at Thomson Financial. His children Tim (a senior at Notre
Dame High school) and Emily are performing in the school musical "Joseph
and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat."
"It’s fun because we can share rehearsal stories at the dinner
table," says Hinton. "They are both a little more talented
than their dad." And while most members of the family enjoy watching
him as he performs, there is a dissenter among the family. His youngest
daughter, Elizabeth, informed him she would skip "Ten Little Indians"
— "she doesn’t want to see another play where everyone dies,"
— Jack Florek
College, 609-584-9444. Yardley Players production. $12. Friday
and Saturday, February 14 and 15 at 8 p.m., and Sunday, February 16,
at 2 p.m.
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