Darryl Maximilian Robinson Reflects On The 20th Anniversary Of His 2000 Chicago All-Black Cast Revival Of Anthony Shaffer's "SLEUTH"!



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Wed Oct 14, 8:00pm

Exactly Two Decades Ago, Actor / Director Darryl Maximilian Robinson as Andrew Wyke and Actor Sean Nix as Milo Tindle Made Chicago Theatre History When They Starred As The First All African-American Cast In The 2000 Excaliber Shakespeare Company 30th Anniversary Revival of Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning Best Play Sleuth At The Harrison Street Galleries Studio Theatre in Oak Park, IL.

"There is more than one mystery going on in The Excaliber Shakespeare Company's production of "Sleuth," now being performed in Oak Park. And we're not just talking about the script of Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning play. At last Friday night's show, there were only two actors onstage: Darryl Maximilian Robinson as Andrew Wyke and Sean Nix as Milo Tindle. Yet the program lists a total of five characters played by five different actors...In any case, none of this matters a bit because Robinson could have easily played all five characters without batting an eyelash. If you've never seen Robinson in action, he is a veritable one-man-show all by himself. You owe it to yourself to check out this performance because he's at the top of his game in a delightfully witty play that is, as they say, an actor's dream...Since both Nix and Robinson are African American actors, this adds yet another dimension to the mix." -- Michael Bonesteel, The Pioneer Press Oak Leaves, Oct. 25, 2000.

One of the best young actors Darryl Maximilian Robinson ever had the pleasure to direct and act with was Mr. Sean Nix. In a 2000 Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago 30th Anniversary Revival Production of British playwright Anthony Shaffer's Tony Award-winning Best Play Sleuth, both Mr. Nix as Milo Tindle and Mr. Robinson as Andrew Wyke got to display their full range of acting skills while playing the ultimate cat-and-mouse game...for keeps. The revival also made history as the FIRST DOCUMENTED STAGING OF "SLEUTH" WITH AN ALL AFRICAN-AMERICAN CAST! This ESC production was greatly assisted by the professional work and efforts of veteran theatre artist, Mr. L. C. Satterfield, who served as a Co-Designer, Production Stage Manager and Technical Director for Shaffer's marvelous, clever and witty play!

Before it was immortalized on the silver screen by the dazzling Best Actor Oscar-nominated turns of Sir Laurence Olivier as Andrew Wyke and Sir Michael Caine as Milo Tindle in Oscar-nominated and acclaimed director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's 1972 movie version, highly-skilled English playwright Anthony Shaffer earned a 1971 Tony Award for Best Play for the original 1970 Broadway Production of Sleuth at The Music Box Theatre in New York that featured a critically-acclaimed pair of performances by Sir Anthony Quayle as Andrew Wyke and Keith Baxter as Milo Tindle that would earn the two brits a Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Performance. Shaffer's outstanding mystery genre play was a smash hit on Broadway, playing well over a thousand performances, and due to its small cast size, was quickly and frequently revived by dozens of regional and local theatre groups around the country.

Having previously played Andrew Wyke when he made his Chicago directorial debut in 1980 with a non-Equity professional, multiracial cast ( 10th anniversary ) version performed by his short-lived New Chicago Repertory Theatre Company at St. Luke's Lutheran Church in the Windy City's Logan Square neighborhood, Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago Founder, Artistic Director and Joseph Jefferson Citation Award-winning Principal Actor Darryl Maximilian Robinson thought Shaffer's wonderfully witty cat-and-mouse-game thriller would work well in the intimate confines of The Harrison Street Galleries Studio Theatre in Oak Park, Il. for a fall 2000, 30th anniversary revival run. And returning to directing the play and playing Andrew Wyke, he found a talented young actor with strong stage presence named Sean Nix to join him onstage as Milo Tindle. The initial run did well, audiences responded very positively throughout the run ( which was extended ). And, without anyone involved in the show really realizing it at the time, Darryl Maximilian Robinson's non-Equity professional Excaliber Shakespeare Company of Chicago staging of Anthony Shaffer's Sleuth became the first production documented in theatre history to feature an all African-American cast.