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Director's Note for Under the Gaslight

When I was in elementary school, I saw a performance of Under the Gaslight. I was transported to another world! I went home after seeing the show, and every night when I was supposed to be going to sleep, I would instead use my stuffed animals and act out what I could remember from the production. It was the beginning of my passion for theatre.

Fast forward a lot of years to this past fall. I wanted to do a melodrama with my students and needed one that was royalty free. I remembered Under the Gaslight, checked it out, and lo and behold! It was as amazing as I thought it was! And, not only was it royalty free and the impetus for my career in theater - it was also an important show in theater history. Under the Gaslight was the first production in America with the plot device of tying someone to the railroad tracks.

Melodrama was a style of theater popular during the latter half of the nineteenth century. In those days, before Hollywood or the television industry was around to shape

the thinking of the masses, popular melodramas carried the torch of morality. In melodramas, good always prevailed after a series of harrowing encounters with consummate evil. Audiences took these dramatized sermons very seriously and never hesitated to voice their disapproval of the villain's antics, to cheer the hero in his desperate struggle to conquer the forces of evil, or to weep for the plight of the beleaguered heroine.

The melodrama reminds us all that God is good, and that He conquers the ultimate evil - sin - through the blood of His Son, Jesus Christ. It is our hope that as you watch this show, it will encourage you to overcome evil in your own life by accepting the free gift that Jesus gave you on the cross. We also hope that you will join in the spirit of fun and let the villains know how much you abhor their underhanded dealings.

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