subscribe: Posts | Comments

Candace Knoch Moore draws praise for playing dead


Congratulations are in order for one Candace Knoch Moore. In Clue on Stage at Fort Myers Theatre, she dies not once, but twice. First, in the guise of Bodde Manor’s femme chef and then later as a singing telegram girl.

To be clear, Moore deserves high praise not for how she portrays dying. In fact, she comes to the stage already dead in the first instance, a kitchen knife protruding from her back. She’s shot dead in the latter instance and, true to life, drops to the floor like a rag doll.

Where Moore excels in her Clue on Stage death scenes is in the art of playing dead. It’s not just that she quiets her breathing. You never see her chest lift or fall, not even a little bit.

And she keeps her face completely expressionless.

And in one scene, she’s bent over backwards at such an unnatural angle you’d swear she had to really be dead … or a contortionist.

But while all that is well and good, what distinguishes Moore’s simulation of those precious moments pre-rigor mortis is the way she goes completely limp – to the extent of allowing her limbs to go akimbo as the other characters lift her, carry her, and pose her on a couch.

This is especially at play in a scene during which the Bodde Manor guests are trying to keep a cop who’s just arrived from figuring out that several murders are afoot in the mansion.

In an effort to pretend that nothing’s a miss, Rodney Randall’s character, Colonel Mustard, scoops up the dead chef’s body, throws her arms around his neck and dances with her around the study. Moore could be forgiven had she stiffened up in order to help Randall waltz her lifeless form around the room. But she resists the temptation, forcing him to do all the work a’ la Weekend at Bernie’s.

C’est domage there’s not a Broadway World award category for best portrayal of a mannequin!

Of course, there’s always room for improvement. After all, short of spending time at the morgue or a funeral home to watch a pathologist or mortician transfer fresh corpses from an ambulance or hearse, just how does an actor study the movement – or lack thereof – of the dearly departed?

Keeping it real, it might have been perverse fun had Moore kept her eyes open. But Clue on Stage is a dramedy, not horror.

Of course, it would be asking a lot to have Moore effect an elongated death stare given that the chef’s cold lifeless corpse is on stage for quite a long time. But I think she would have been up to the challenge had Samantha Pudlin made that directorial choice.

Regardless of technique, Moore finds herself in rarified air. While Freddy Krueger, Michael Myers, Blofeld and Emperor Palpatine have died in multiple sequels, only woeful Phil Connors of Groundhog Day fame can claim to dying multiple times in a single production.

So kudos to you Candace Knoch Moore!

Clue on Stage wraps up next weekend with shows at 7p on January 25 & 26, 6p on January 27 and at 1p on January 27 & 28.

January 21, 2024.


Comments are closed.