A Double Act Play of Murder and Comedy
A double act playbill hit Santa Monica College’s (SMC) Theater Arts studio stage on Friday, October 19. The first act, The Real Inspector Hound written by Tom Stoppard, is a dark comedy about two critics who unwittingly get caught up in the plays murder mystery. The second act, a companion piece, Diversions in Murder written by SMC’s Theater Professor Terrin Adair, continues to weave the narrative of the first act as it comically battles between absurdity and reality. “The second act I thought, well, I’ll just go from the playwright’s perspective. The critic from the first act wakes up in the second act and now he’s the playwright. So it’s sort of a tongue and cheek about Tom Stoppard’s process,” said Adair.
The plays enthralling juxtaposition hurls its audience into a whirl wind of high jinx, as it trapeze swings between the worlds of a play within a play. The performers skillfully blaze through each scene with a Molotov cocktail of emotions ranging from farcical, pragmatical and maniacal.“We go further into absurd-ism with the second part. Where this one [first act] starts in reality, where the two critics being in realism and the farcical elements of the play sort of merge onto each other turning it into absurd-ism balancing back and forth,” said first act director Mikael Mattsson. The two murderous stories manage to be layered with humorous surprises as tensions heighten from the first to the second act. Mattsson continues, “Then the next one [second act] goes further in farce and further into absurd-ism.”
The Real Inspector Hound is written by famous Czechlazvakian playwright Tom Stoppard. He began his career as a journalist working for the Western Daily Press and The Bristol Evening News. In London he became a theater critic for Scene Magazine, in 1962, and a year later began his career writing plays for radio and television. Stoppard’s work has been known to intellectually push the envelope of absurdity, including his most famous play Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (1967), a tragic comedy about two minor characters in Hamlet. “Stoppard if you know him as a playwright, he really likes to poke fun at other people. He has a whole play, poking fun at the playwright Tennesse Williams,” said Adair.
Adair pays tribute to Stoppard as she admirably writes a second act to his one act play The Real Inspector Hound. In her original piece she pokes fun of David Mamet, Harold Pinter and George Bernard Shaw as the main character of her play battles with finishing his own work. “David Mamet loves the F-U-C word. Pinter is a playwright who loves long pauses and I also poke fun at George Bernard Shaw. Yeah, I kind of go into the playwright world and poke fun,” said Adair. The play transitions from making fun of playwrights to big films such as A Few Good Men, There Will Be Blood, Jerry Maguire, The Devil Wears Prada and much more.
The plays production will continue to go on for two more weekends at SMC’s Studio Stage. General admission at the door is $13 but advance ticket sales online are ten dollars. Don’t miss these witty and entertaining plays. Come watch a night of mysterious thrills and shrills. With Halloween just around the corner this is perfect play to sit down to laugh and scream.