Millennium Repertory Company will present “Deathtrap: A Thriller in Two Acts,” Oct. 13-15, 20-22 at the Manchester Arts Center, 128 E. Main St.
As a two-act, single-set play with only five characters, the short list of credits is long on talent.
Playwright Ira Leven (of “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Stepford Wives”) wrote “Deathtrap” in 1978. It holds the distinction of the longest running comedy-thriller on Broadway and took home a Tony Award for best play. It gained additional popularity with the 1982 film adaptation of the same name, starring Michael Caine and Christopher Reeve.
Credits for the local production include Joel Longstreth as Sidney Bruhl, Weston Foster as Clifford Anderson, Danelle Afflerbaugh as Myra Bruhl, Jeanne Edwards as Helga Ten Dorp and David Butner as Porter Milgrim. Direction and production are the husband-and-wife team Landon and Rachel Spangler.
“Deathtrap” is Landon’s first time in the director’s chair.
“The best part of every show is being part of the MRC family, and the ‘Deathtrap’ cast lives up to this ideal every day,” he said.
Landon described the small cast as tightknit.
“You’re not dealing with crowd control. You’re not dealing with getting people on task because everyone is there to work when everyone is there.”
The difficulty, however, is that when one person can’t make rehearsals it throws off the whole rehearsal schedule.
He noted, too, that with a small cast, each member shares a large portion of the overall play.
“You’re filling two-plus hours of time with just those five people. It is a very heavy load, but when you consider larger shows, it still falls on five main characters.”
A regular on the MAC stage, Landon said his favorite roles include Sir Galahad in “Spamalot,” Doctor Frederick “Fronkensteen” in “Young Frankenstein” and Professor Harold Hill in the “Music Man.”
Directing “Deathtrap” was also a treat for the MRC vice-president.
“It was presented a few different years to our play selection committee. It really struck me as a cool thriller with a lot twists and turns. You never know what’s going to happen next. It keeps me excited. I liked the movie and I liked reading the play even more.”
Called a thriller within a thriller, “Deathtrap” describes once-successful playwright Sidney Bruhl who watches his latest play bomb on Broadway. He’s ready to give up—until he receives an amazing (and unpublished) script from his former student, Clifford Anderson, entitled “Deathtrap.”
Despite the urging of his wife, Myra, Sidney decides to claim the script as his own. This thriller about a thriller is full of twists and turns, murder and deceit.
It’s a dark comedy and frightening action round out this production for an evening of true entertainment. From beginning to end, “Deathtrap” begs the question of both the players and the audience: Would you kill for success?
If you go: The show runs Oct. 13-22, Fridays and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m. and Sundays at 2 p.m., at the Manchester Arts Center Theater, located at 128 East Main Street. It contains language and some comical situations that may be unsuitable for some audiences.
Tickets are available at millenniumrep.org or (931) 570-4489.