Directing Debut for
Lawrence J. Lukasavage
|What happens when a has-been playwright's
protégé comes up with a new play that's good enough to kill
for? Find out when Off The Wall Theatre, presents Deathtrap.
One of Broadway’s great success stories, this ingeniously constructed play
offers a rare and skillful blending of two priceless theatrical ingredients:
gasp-inducing thrills and spontaneous laughter. Written by Ira Levin,
the author of The Stepford Wives and The Boys From Brazil,
this comic thriller contains more cat-and-mouse games than a Tom &
Jerry cartoon. Filled with razor sharp wit and hair-raising twists,
is the longest running mystery-thriller in Broadway history.
The ingenious plot is two-thirds thriller and one-third devilishly clever comedy — full of twists and shocks until the last minute. Sidney Bruhl, once a successful writer of Broadway thrillers, hasn't had a hit in 17 years. He supports himself by teaching seminars at a university, but his wife Myra's money provides most of the comforts he enjoys in their suburban Connecticut home. When he receives a script from Clifford Anderson, a former student, the thriller reads like a surefire smash. Although it is perfect as written, Sidney tells his wife that he will offer to collaborate with the student, kill him if necessary, and present the play as his own. Sidney's collection of grisly murder weapons are mementoes from his past stage productions, but early in the action it appears that he is quite ready to use them to carry out a real-life murder.
Once Clifford accepts Sidney's offer to collaborate and share writing credit on the play, the game of suspense begins. There follows a complicated game of murderous musical chairs. Bodies are buried in the garden; someone gets an arrow from a crossbow in the heart; a psychic woman brings warnings of disaster but seems to get her spectral information mixed up. At the end of the evening, a good percentage of the cast has been obliterated by fiendish means, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats until the startling conclusion.
This "Off The Wall Theatre Special Event" featured the talents of Robert Hirschi as Sidney, Mark Hagen as Clifford, Sharon Rise as Myra, Kristin Pagenkopf as Helga Ten Dorp and Tom Welcenbach as Porter Milgrim. Lawrence Lukasavage, a core member of the Off The Wall Theatre group made his directorial debut with this show.
Ira Levin is an author
of fiction thriller novels as well as a playwright and songwriter.
He wrote his first novel, A Kiss Before Dying, when he was 22 years
old. Levin's crowning achievement as a playwright, however, is the comedy
thriller Deathtrap, which is still the longest-running mystery ever
to play on Broadway. The play was awarded an "Edgar" by the Mystery Writers
of America. Levin is also well known for his novels: Rosemary’s
Baby, The Stepford Wives, and The Boys From Brazil. All
of these novels, as well as Deathtrap, were turned into successful
movies. In 1982, Deathtrap was made into a film starring Michael
Caine and Christopher Reeve. No less than Stephen King has described Ira
Levin as "the Swiss watchmaker of suspense novels; he makes what the rest
of us do look like cheap watchmakers in drugstores.