Greetings TBM fans – we are currently wading through rehearsals for our Fall production of The Dead of Winter, and are pleased to provide this brief introduction of characters to this original work! Our cast is having a great time exploring their characters, relationships, and motivations… including motivation for murder – don’t forget this is a murder mystery with several different killers! We invite you to come out and see our play and the characters our talented actors are bringing to life!
Here are the characters:
The beautiful and spirited Constance Claybourne is the self-serving daughter of Eleanor Montgomery. Constance has recently broken her engagement to Arthur Winter, whose estate is hosting a celebration for the engagement of Constance’s younger sister Rose to Arthur’s brother Simon. A charming, shrewd, charismatic and manipulative creature, Constance always knows exactly what to say and exactly how to behave to keep everyone’s attention focused squarely upon her. Love her or hate her, you will never forget her.
Constance’s younger sister Rose Claybourne has spent her life living in the shadow of her sister, yearning for the attention and accolades she feels she deserves. No matter how hard Rose may try, her mother treats her with dismissive and cold disdain. Rose’s engagement to Simon Winter should be her moment to shine, yet somehow all attention remains upon her vivacious and demanding sister. Rose has found happiness with Simon and is looking forward to their life together – either that, or she has finally started manipulating events and people as her sister does. Is this deliberate, or does she truly love Simon – and does she even know the answer?
Regal and determined, Eleanor Montgomery has overcome her modest upbringing to marry above her station by enchanting Lawrence Montgomery, the Count of Guilford. With her noble airs, one would never suspect The Countess Montgomery was not born into the upper echelon of society. Eleanor spends as much time doting on her ill husband as she does posturing and gesturing in EXACTLY the perfect manner. Eleanor is delighted over Constance’s achievements, and barely notices Rose’s awkward fumblings.
Despite his wealth and noble upbringing, Lawrence Montgomery, the Count of Guilford, will tell you he did not truly live until he first touched the hand of his beloved, Eleanor. His devotion to her caused him to scandalize the nobility by elevating her as his Countess. Injured during his service abroad to the Queen, Lawrence suffers with illness and infirmity, but does all he can to see to every whim of his darling wife.
The cold and angry Charles Winter takes great pride in the long history and status of his family, though his fortunes have dwindled over the years. Lord Charles is pleased to have the Winter name elevated through his son’s impending marriage to the step-daughter of the Count of Guildford, though he finds the girl rather… tawdry. Charles has long been secluded within the Winter Keep, and many throughout the countryside were shocked at the invitation to join the celebration of his son’s engagement. The local gentry all eagerly make preparations to attend, as much to share in the couple’s happiness as to get a look inside the mysterious Winter Keep… and perhaps uncover some scant details of the many secrets buried within.
Arthur Winter is the oldest son of Lord Charles and is proud of his brother Simon’s engagement. Certainly though he wishes his brother would have chosen a bride other than Rose Claybourne, sister to Constance who recently broke off their own engagement and left him devastated. He tries to downplay the crushing despair he suffers from Constance’s rejection, but his true feelings come quickly to light the emptier his cup becomes. His family is doing their best to help Arthur forget Constance, which will be difficult with her flaunting her charms throughout their Keep, trying to encourage a wealthy suitor.
The younger son of Charles, Simon Winter is more innocent than most around him. He is passionately in love with Rose Claybourne and cannot wait to begin their lives together. He sees Rose through love-clouded eyes, and she certainly seems to have a great affection for him. Well aware of the grim and secretive nature of his family, he strives (a bit desperately) to retain his optimism, though is quick to share his plans to depart the Keep as quickly as possible.
Charles’ only daughter Jayne Winter has been devoted to her brothers since the mysterious disappearance of their mother many years ago. Jayne is fiercely protective of her siblings, bearing the brunt of her father’s disapproval, disdain and abuse. While she does her best to put on a quiet and reserved facade, those with a shrewd eye will realize the anger, resentment and passions being held inside. Isolated as she is, Jayne has resigned herself to never finding a love and never knowing a life outside of her family Keep, which only adds to the turmoil within her.
Agnes Winter is the spinster sister to Charles, and is as quick with a sharp word and a haughty tone as she is to drain her mugs in utter disregard for propriety. Declaring herself above the insipid concept of love, Agnes is quick to dismiss the tender affections of Charles’ children as wasteful nonsense. Agnes displays a wicked demeanor to keep most at a distance, lest they truly see what may lie in Agnes’ jaded heart. She and her brother Charles are clearly close, as she is one of the few to whom he does not direct his cruelty.
Good fences make good neighbors is most apt as the Sumner and Winter families seldom interact despite the proximity of their lands. Bartholomew Sumner was eager to accept the invitation to the Winter engagement celebration, as much to revel in the occasion as to finally have a glimpse inside the dank and mysterious Winter Keep. With a watchful eye on his lovely and eager daughter Grace, once inside the Keep, Bartholomew is quite keen on finding any details regarding the fate of Charles’ wife, Claire, his dear friend who went missing so long ago.
The independent and willful Grace Sumner has many dreams of what her life will hold, having been long sheltered by her father, Bartholomew, after the death of her mother. Bartholomew is reluctant to let his daughter out of this sight, and dotes upon her. Well-tutored in literature, language, and philosophy, Grace prides herself on being clever but is often undone by her own naiveté. Having lived most of her life through the pages of books, Grace longs to experience the world.
Well-educated but unproven, Nathaniel Norwood has lived and studied in London for much of his life. Single-minded once he is presented with a problem to solve, he can be relentless in his pursuits. Serving in the stead of his mentor as the surgeon on hand for the Winter Engagement celebration. Nathaniel’s sole purpose is to ensure the sickly Count of Guildford remains in good health, though he finds the ways of the rural Winter Keep and its inhabitants to be unfamiliar and puzzling.
Wealthy and influential, the Viscount Avery de Launciet finds himself the perfect match for social climbing in Constance Claybourne. Having been forced to marry his wife Rebecca under threat of a duel with her father, Avery endures the behaviors of his overbearing wife in public, but in private their relationship is turbulent. Recently, Avery and his wife fled the courts of France under scandalous circumstances and have sought shelter with Avery’s great-uncle Lawrence Montgomery, flattering, attending and wheedling the Count with every aim of exploiting their familial ties.
The emotionally insecure Viscountess Rebecca de Launciet flaunts her wealth and sophistication, demanding constant attention wherever she goes. Vain and materialistic, Rebecca insists upon having the newest and most expensive of everything. While it is clear she is accumulating possessions and baubles in a desperate attempt to hide her own emptiness, Rebecca allows none to get close enough to realize how unhappy she is with her life and her straying, lecherous and inattentive husband.
The long-time steward of the Winter family, Adam Doyle is completely loyal to Lord Charles and his family and serves them faithfully, as did his father before him. The head of all servants in the Winters’ employ, the stoic Adam is privy to the many secrets of the Winter Keep, and guards them very closely. While Adam is attentive to his Lord’s guests, he is utterly disdainful of them and cannot be rid of them fast enough.
Martha Francis refers to herself as the “keeper of the Keep”, and her tidy and fastidious nature enables her to freely eavesdrop while she hovers in the background, dusting and straightening relentlessly and repetitively. The constant gloom in the Winter Keep is hard on her naturally cheerful disposition, but nonetheless she does her best to lighten the spirits of the other maids and her son. Martha is surprisingly well-treated and tolerated by the Winters, having done what she could to care for Charles’ children after the disappearance of his wife.
Liza has served as maid to the Winters for some time now, having little choice but to accept such a position in the secluded Winter Keep after her parents were jailed for thievery, forfeiting her dowry and her future. Sly and with a keen eye, Liza is ever-watchful – particularly regarding the finery, jewels, and secrets that remain just out of her reach. Liza is far more clever than she lets on, and has many a scheme brewing.
Friendly and amiable, Maggie is the newest servant in the Winter Keep, and often finds herself in awe of the state of the Keep itself and the secretive manner of its inhabitants. The engagement of Simon Winter to Rose Claybourne has left Maggie excited but also puzzled – why are the Winters so displeased at young Simon’s choice of wife? There is an innocence and sweetness to Maggie that her dour employers have not yet driven from her.
Martha’s son, Geoffrey, has known only service to the Winters in his young life. He spends most of his time outside of the Keep, tending to the stables and the grounds as much to remain away from the Winter’s sour demeanor as to escape the doting attentions of his mother. Though Geoffrey does not say much, he is clearly aware of much more than many around him.