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Archibald Craven

The Secret Garden

Black Hills Playhouse

Summer 2014

Playing Archibald in The Secret Garden was certainly near the top of my bucket list of roles, and I feel extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to bring this complex character to life. I began by reading Francis Hodgson Burnett’s original novel, and comparing similarities and contrasts between that and the libretto of the musical. Then I researched the era, location, and social context of the world the play is set in. I also looked at medical causes for the hunchback that Archibald suffers from, and explored how that affected my posture, movement, and mood. Archibald is so devastated by the loss of his wife that he is constantly in a state of anguish, and the hump becomes an emotional, as much as a physical, malformation. As the rehearsal process went along, I explored leading with different physical and vocal Body NRGs, in search of the combination of qualities that centered me in Archibald’s skin. Ultimately, I found him to be potent and strong despite his hump, yet quick to anger or fatigue.


Always in my acting process I am exploring my relationship to the other characters in the world of the ,play, as well as my place in that world. I found that it was ultimately the children, both Mary and Colin, that ultimately brought me back from the brink of despair, and the emotional, physical, and even vocal ,thawing that gradually took place from the beginning to the end of the show in my scenes with these characters proved to be an exciting challenge as well as a clear guide to my overall arc.

Photos by Sage Studios. Used with permission

Scenic Design by  Kathy Voecks; Lighting Design by Robert Fitzsimmons; Costume Design Amber Marissa Cook.

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