A World Premiere
by Dale Gutzman

September 2012

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Off the Wall Theatre begun the 2012-13 season with a sophisticated thriller written by Artistic Director Dale Gutzman. The play with Pinteresque overtones deals with a double Agent living and working in Hong Kong who is ordered by his superiors to assassinate himself. It seems, the secrets of his past life are just too much baggage for his bosses to tolerate. In each of the subsequent scenes of the play, we learn more and more about Alistair Caruthers and the many secret lives he has been leading. We meet his wife and explore their mutual need for and misunderstandings of each other. We also meet Alistair's lover. And then there is the mysterious Chinese Opera Singer who trades information with our hero. And all of this leads eventually to murder. 

Gutzman set out to write a play in which each new scene re-invents the audience perspective of the characters and the situations in which they find themselves. As Alistair duels with his superior, Blake, tries to protect his marriage and defend his secret lover, events spiral out of control. Through much wit, suspense, and crackling dialogue, Gutzman seeked to explore the many layers of our lives...the way others see us, and the way in which we see ourselves. Like the city of Hong Kong, Alistair is not what he seems, and like Hong Kong, Alistair has a secret history that lurks just beneath the surface waiting to rise up and destroy him. 

A superb Off The Wall Theatre cast was assembled for this unique theatre experience. David Roper, who last appeared in ON THE BEACH at Off the Wall, played Alistair Caruthers, a complex and haunted secret agent. Marilyn White, one of Milwaukee's most beloved actresses, played Flo, his intelligent, artistic wife who may know more than she admits. Rick Anderson in his second show with us, played Blake, Alistair's seemingly kind superior with a dangerous agenda of his own. Young Alex Scheurell played Johnny Chen, a shadowy figure in Alistair's secret life. And the very talented Tairre Christopherson played Lee Yin, a down and out Chinese Opera Singer and sometime Chinese spy.

Like all Off the Wall Shows, this production had widely diverse elements to entertain and intrigue the audience. Music, comedy, multi-media projections, and wonderful plot twists took the audience on a theatrical journey that will stay with them long after the show was over. Hopefully the play not only raised the question, "Who is the real Alistair Caruthers?", but also raised the question, "Who is the real you?"