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'Hound' Plays at Aldersgate

Tim Pullen stars in Sherlock Holmes murder mystery.

There’s something familiar about the man who plays Sir Henry Baskerville in “The Hound of the Baskervilles.” Even though his hair is slicked back, it doesn’t take long before people realize it’s the same Tim Pullen they recently saw working at the Hollin Hall Variety Store.

Pullen’s love of theater started at a young age. After starring in his high school’s production of “You Can’t Take it With You,” he started writing his own screenplay. Titled “Enchantment,” he not only completed it, but produced it with friends at the age of 16. The show was featured on the front page of the Mount Vernon Gazette in August, 1993.

“I failed a couple of classes while writing that,” he said.

That same year, he started working at the Hollin Hall Variety Store. He manages the store on Friday nights and works in the store the rest of the week. His wife, Toni, works at the Alexandria Animal Shelter, and they have a nine-year-old daughter, Shelbi.

While Pullen has appeared in his own productions and several Tapestry Theater productions, he has not appeared at Aldersgate Church Community Theatre (ACCT) since he starred in “The Curious Savage.”

He enjoyed performing under the direction of C. Evans Kirk so much that he decided he would audition for the next performance by Kirk. The chance came with "The Hounds."

“Directors are either good or they’re fun to work with — Kirk is both,” Pullen said. “This [ACCT] is one of the few theater companies that lets community theater be fun.”

Clerk by day, star at night, and student wherever he has time to fit it in, Pullen continues to work towards his goal of opening his own theater that he can rent out to community groups. After renting halls for his own productions he knows how expensive the rents can be.

Pullen is working toward a teaching degree in the arts; he is currently taking classes at Northern Virginia Community College and plans to transfer to George Mason University at some point.

“I have a love of knowledge,” he said.

Pullen has also written a children’s book which he is in the process of trying to get published.

He said he enjoyed playing the role of Sir Henry because, “It’s fun to play somebody who’s nothing like you — he is an aristocrat.”

PULLEN LIKES the fact that Kirk chose the script that was the closest to the novel, and said, “I think it will be pleasing to any Sherlock Holmes fan because we’ve paid a great attention to detail,” Pullen said.

“I would like to say that I was thankful that Aldersgate allowed me to pick the adaptation,” said Kirk. “This script is the closest to being true to the original novel. The version that is often done in area theatres changes the gender of one of the characters and even alters who the murderer is. I wanted to explore the original legend of Sherlock, and this adaptation allowed us to do that."

Shirley Bolstad, the show's producer, said, “Chris did a great deal of research — there were a lot of things I didn’t know [about Sherlock]. Chris is very easy to work with and the cast is very congenial. It’s a very wordy play but Chris added some touches to make it flow better. We’re doing a good job — the costume designer has done a wonderful job and it’s a great set.”

In her program notes, she wrote, “If you like a good mystery you are in the right place. “The Hound of Baskervilles” has all the elements of a classic mystery: a murder, a brilliant detective (Sherlock Holmes), his trusted friend (Dr. Watson) and several suspects. As you travel from London to Baskerville Hall on the lonely moors, you will meet the faithful family doctor, our young hero, a beautiful but sad young woman and her brother, the secretive servants and of course a lovely woman with a past. Who killed Sir Charles? Was it an accident or a dreadful beast?”