By Merle Exit
If Lucy Liu can play Dr. Watson on the TV show “Elementary,” then what is stopping someone from casting a woman to play Sherlock?
The Aquila Theatre brings its production of “The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” to Queens Theatre this weekend with actress Jackie Schram playing the titular role.
“This is the first time that I have played the role of Sherlock Holmes,” Schram said. “I don’t know that any female has ever played that part. The concept came from Aquila Theatre’s Artistic Director Desiree Sanchez.”
Sanchez had been watching a version of Sherlock Holmes on television with her two daughters, when one asked if the great detective could ever be a woman, Schram said.
So Sanchez thought about it and decided that indeed Holmes could be a lady.
“It has the same type of references that only ‘Sherlockians’ will get,” Schram said. “What is interesting about how we adapted these stories to the stage is that the director wanted to be close to the text of Arthur Conan Doyle’s words.”
Schram’s bio includes her touring role in the fast-paced comedy “The 39 Steps.”
“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes” is comprised of three separate stories — “Adventure of Copper Beeches,” “Adventure of the Yellow Face” and “The Scandal in Bohemia.”
“The formula of the stories is that they have someone coming into the apartment with their problem which Holmes and Watson solve,” Schram said.
The stage version differs in how the story is told.
For example, in “Adventure of the Copper Beeches,” one of the characters comes in talking about a strange interview she had for a governess position. As she speaks, the stage springs to life with actors playing out the scene as Sherlock imagines it in his mind, Schram said.
Schram said that although there are men’s roles played by women, she never lets the audience forgets she is female.
“My character is portrayed as a woman with femininity,” Schram said. “Sherlock says ‘he loathes every form of society with his whole Bohemian soul’ which is now heightened because you see a woman which, too, goes against social norms.”
If you Go
“The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes”
When: April 1 – April 3
Where: Queens Theatre, 14 United Nations Ave. South, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Cost: $25 – $42
Contact: (718) 760-0064