CHARACTER PROFILES

HERCULE POIROT

The Belgian-born detective celebrated for his extraordinary investigatory skills. Poirot’s powers of observation are finely tuned, and he uses psychology to both understand the mindset of the murderer, as well as to entice witnesses and suspects to divulge their secrets.

POIROT
…this time I am using science to catch the guilty party. Usually for me it is the psychology – the mind of the killer – but not with these clues.
 
BOUC
Why not?
 
POIROT
Because I do not trust them! The handkerchief: Did a woman drop it or did a man put it there and say “I will make this look like a woman’s crime.” The same thing with the pipe cleaner, eh? “I will make it look like a man has done it.” There is also the watch, the gun, the window, the match, the letters – there are too many clues and I am unhappy!
(Act One, Scene Nine)


MONSIEUR BOUC

Similar to his longtime friend Hercule Poirot, Monsieur Bouc is a Belgian man of middle-age. He manages the Wagons-Lits company, which operates the Orient Express, with great pride, enthusiasm, and a sense of humor.

MONSIEUR BOUC
Monsieur Poirot! You stab me in the heart! I am writhing on the ground at your feet! It is not a mere train that will carry you tonight, it is a legend. It runs like no other vehicle on the earth. The fittings are from Paris, the paneling, Venice, the plates are from Rome and the taps from New York. The best food, the best beds, the best pillows, the best crystal. It is poetry on wheels, and Lord Byron himself could not write it better. Monsieur, prepare yourself. In one hour, I will meet you on the platform of the Orient Express.
(Act One, Scene Two)

 

 

MARY DEBENHAM

An English governess returning home after working for a year in Istanbul. She is beautiful, but tense, and there is a sadness about her. She is traveling in the company of Colonel Arbuthnot.

MARY
James! At last! Where have you been?!
 
ARBUTHNOT
Oh I’m not that late, am I?
 
MARY
Of course you are. You’re always late. And I was terrified we’d miss the train. It would ruin everything.
 
ARBUTHNOT
I was just exploring a bit. I’ve never been to Istanbul before and I quite adore all this Eastern nonsense.
 
MARY
I don’t. I just want to leave now and get it over with.
(Act One, Scene One)

 

 

COLONEL JAMES ARBUTHNOT

An adventurous Scottish Military man and companion of Mary Debenham. Though his military training taught him to hide his emotions, he is a man of passion and temper, who is fiercely protective.

ARBUTHNOT
Well I don’t like it! Do you understand? And you can put that in your meerschaum pipe and smoke it!
 
BOUC
That is Sherlock Holmes.
 
ARBUTHNOT
Oh go to hell!
(Act Two, Scene Three)

 

PRINCESS DRAGOMIROFF

An elderly Russian princess who has lived in exile in Paris since the usurpation of the Tsar by the Bolsheviks. The droll Princess is dignified and shows off her status with expensive attire and jewels.

PRINCESS
I hope you solve all this quickly, monsieur. I am not afraid of dying, but I would rather not speed up the process.
(Act Two, Scene One)

 

GRETA OHLSSON

The Princess’s Swedish travelling companion. She is plain, fearful, and given to excessive religious out-bursts, which annoy the Princess greatly. She is an accomplished baby nurse and has worked as a missionary in Africa.

GRETA
I have to confess to you, Princess, that I am not liking trains since I am little girl. They are feeling very tight to me, like clothing that is made wrong size.
 
PRINCESS
Oh don’t be silly, just take a breath. Trains are wonderful. They put me to sleep so beautifully at night.
 
GRETA
I am also not liking the strangers and der clickety-clackety. But ve vill be sitting next to each other, ja? That part iss good. In Africa once I am on a train and there is noise and crying and animals and oh! And I look up from my book and sitting there next to me, right on the seat, iss a very old goat. Ha ha. Is true. Old goat! He is like my companion. And on this trip that we are taking together right now, I think it will not be so different, ja?
(Act One, Scene Four)

 

MICHEL

Described by Monsieur Bouc as “the best conductor” on the Orient Express, he is a handsome Parisian of about 40. He has a professional demeanor in every situation.

MICHEL
Orient Express to Belgrade Station. Orient Express to Belgrade Station. Are you there, Belgrade? The snow is becoming heavier by the minute, and I am getting concerned as we head into the mountains. Please prepare your rescue equipment in case of stoppage. Hello? Do you read me?
(Act One, Scene Six)

 

SAMUEL RATCHETT

A brusque and arrogant American businessman who engenders disapprobation from the other passengers on the train as a result of his rude and threatening demeanor. He does not like to take no for an answer and making enemies seems to be par for the course for him.

RATCHETT
Right. That’s it exactly! Ain’t you a smarty. The trouble is, I’ve been getting some threatening letters lately and I need some protection. Of course I’m pretty good at taking care of myself, as you can see, but this could be serious. I want an extra pair of eyes to do some snoopin’ around if you see what I mean. And that’s what you do, am I right? Snoopin’?
(Act One, Scene Four)

 

HECTOR MACQUEEN

Personal secretary and translator to Samuel Ratchett. MacQueen has a pleasant disposition but is given to nervousness, especially when interacting with his temperamental boss.

MACQUEEN
Oh Mr. Ratchett, I’ve been looking for you. I-I put your glass of wine next to your sink, and if you don’t need anything else tonight, I thought I’d just -
 
RATCHETT
Shut up, Hector. Just shut … up!
(Act One, Scene Four)

 

HELEN HUBBARD

A show tune-loving, loud, flirtatious, and flamboyant American tourist. She believes Americans need to stick together abroad, but is not above shamelessly flirting with the handsome French Conductor, Michel.

MRS. HUBBARD
Mrs. Helen Caroline Peabody-Wolfson-Van Pelt-Hubbard, if you please, from the beautiful garden state of Minnesota. Mr. Peabody, my first husband, was a very good soul but the poor man had no talent for longevity, and I shouldn’t say poor because he did very nicely for himself, thank you very much. My second husband was a Mr. Wolfson who I loved rather dearly but he didn’t quite work out, so I traded up and got a Van Pelt who did work out until I caught him in bed with the redhead from the Waldorf who did his nails. Then I found Mr. Hubbard and I call him my little White Knight for saving me from a life of bridge games and watery cocktails at the Minneapolis Country Club.
(Act One, Scene Three)

 

COUNTESS ANDRENYI

Though she has the appearance of a fairytale princess in sumptuous clothing and jewelry, in reality the Countess is a commoner from the intelligentsia who became a doctor before marrying a Hungarian nobleman.

POIROT
Forgive me, Countess, but I understand you were trained as a physician, so I thought perhaps you could help me with the body.
 
COUNTESS
I am happy to help.
 
POIROT
I’m afraid it is not a very pleasant sight.
 
COUNTESS
I have seen worse, believe me. I volunteered in the war.
(Act One, Scene Nine)

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