Thanks to the Samuel French edition, DEADLY MURDER has started appearing at theatres around the country, including what seems to be quite a fine production at the Lakewood Theatre Company in Portland (pictured, Ty Boice and Adrienne Flagg) and another at Theatre Suburbia in Houston. There’s also a production in Prague right now, and one will open soon in Athens, under the title TA BROMIKA KOLPA (below), a translation, I think, of A NASTY TRICK, a title the play had at one point.
It’s a strange but fun feeling to think that there are all these Camilles and Billys and Teds out there, some speaking in other languages. (What’s the Czech for “a few brisk years in reform school on the fly”?)
“We love blood. We love murder. We love danger and double-crosses and the moment when the safe, predictable world gives way. Or we love them in a thriller.
“When I began to write DEADLY MURDER, my play CRESSIDA AMONG THE GREEKS, a retelling of the doomed Trojan War romance, had just completed its New York run. It, too, had its share of blood and betrayal and worlds collapsing, but it was a tragedy, and in tragedies things cost. Tragedies, at the end of the night, present you with a bill for the blood and betrayal, and it’s a steep one. Thrillers allow us to slip the cost. They allow us to laugh as we gasp, to feel horror with pleasure, to ride death and danger like a roller coaster.
“Maybe that’s why a thriller seemed like such a good idea after CRESSIDA. Maybe I needed some murder without the cost.
“I’ve always loved thrillers and mysteries. When I was a kid, we came home from school and watched Perry Mason on TV. I whiled away summer afternoons with Agatha Christie. I love Ira Levin’s fiendish entertainments, and the elegant gamesmanship of Anthony Shaffer’s SLEUTH. Writing DEADLY MURDER, I rediscovered the luxurious addictive pleasures of these stories: mysterious strangers, priceless jewels, unsavory secrets, and death not from natural causes. We get a lot of tragedy in the world. We get a lot of blood and betrayal. But tonight we just have fun.”