Thursday, July 14, 2011

Murder, I Wrote

          I always liked thrillers.   Sleuth.  The Mousetrap. Deathtrap.  Stage thrillers had become few and far between and, frankly, I missed them.  So I decided to write one of my own.  But what could I do that was different?  I decided to push the envelope:  I aimed to write something that would be a valentine to the classic, melodramatic shockers, but also embrace comedy as many film thrillers had successfully done...and then go one further and include some timely social commentary and use the medium to hopefully teach and enlighten.  My idea was to make a thriller for our generation.  Ambitious, perhaps, but I love a good challenge, now and then. 

          But the story of this creature being brought to life begins with a killing…

          I had invited a director friend of mine to dinner.  My motive was clear:  I wanted to talk him into directing a play I hadn't written, but one that I thought was brilliant and, what’s more, had a role in which I thought I’d be brilliant.  (I’m allowed my opinion, no?)  After pitching the idea for all it was worth, including why my friend was perfect for the job, I gave him the opportunity to jump at the prospect.  Instead, he killed it.  Mercilessly.  The play I had in mind was a drama (mostly) and he said the only thing that would really interest him was a thriller.

          Funnily enough, I had just finished writing mine and now it was exactly what the doctor (or “director” in this case) had ordered.  I gave him a copy and he was hooked.  So we dumped the body of my other proposed project and began to rework my script more to his taste.  Then we gathered a production team, had auditions and, that winter, my New Year’s Eve murder mystery “Cold Lang Syne” had its World Premiere. 

          It was glorious.  My director friend and the amazing cast and crew took what I had created on the page and brought it to unforgettable life on the stage.  The set, dressed with potential weapons, dangerously sharp antlers and a fanged boar’s head looked remote and creepy, the lighting added darkening shadows, and the audiences laughed and screamed in all the right places. They loved it.  “Cold Lang Syne” was an instant audience favorite. 
          In fact, after attending a performance, film producer Redford Mejia of 701 Productions asked to meet me for dinner.  So my story begins and ends with a dinner.  Only at this dinner, Mejia tells me he wants to make “Cold Lang Syne” into a movie.  Funnily enough, I had just finished writing the screenplay…

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