Rick Vale, the stage director of “Deathtrap,” the upcoming fall play at AU, says that “this show is described as a ‘comic thriller’ because it has elements of a murder-mystery as told in a comic way.”
Vale and the cast have been rehearsing since Oct. 24, so they will have only been working on the show for a little over a month by the time it premieres. The cast consists of only three men and two women, while about 10 other people work with costumes, lights and assisting with other tasks.
“Deathtrap” follows a couple from the East coast, Sidney and Myra Bruhl. Sidney Bruhl, played by Isaac Derkach, is a playwright who is searching for another successful show.
He believes he has found his hit once he finds a student who has written what seems to be a future success. Sidney jokes about how he might kill this student just so he can have the show. Then, their new neighbor, who is a famous Dutch psychic, sees visions of pain and trouble in the house.
“That’s about all one can give away, as the script contains six scenes of twists and turns,” Vale said.
Derkach said that he thinks that “when you boil ‘Deathtrap’ down to its essence, it’s a show about how far people are willing to go to get what they want.”
“Everybody has some kind of objective and their own way of bringing it to fruition,” Derkach continued. “In Deathtrap, we get to see these tactics interact with each other, making for a smart and very funny show.”
Even though Derkach is portraying Sidney Bruhl, he believes that there is another character that AU students will enjoy more than his own. He stated that “hands down, AU is going to love Helga. The role is hysterical. There couldn’t be a better actress cast for the part. Helga is wonderful.”
Vale says that he believes the students at AU will enjoy Cliff, “who is approximately the age of the student population,” and “propels the story forward.”
“Deathtrap” is full of plot twists that audience members will not expect. “Truthfully, my favorite part of the show is the ‘turn’ in the very last scene,” Vale said.
Derkach said that there is a part of the play that has moments that will make the audience laugh, think very hard, and then have their jaws drop to the floor. He said, “for me, it’s the quintessence of ‘Deathtrap.’”
“Deathtrap” was written by Ira Levin in 1978 and currently holds the record for the longest running comedy thriller on Broadway. In 1982, it was remade into a film with Christopher Reeve, Michael Caine and Dyan Cannon. It has been revived on Broadway numerous times since then. “Deathtrap” had a four-year run on Broadway consisting of approximately 1,800 shows. It has also been described as one of the most successful “whodunit” shows of all time.
Vale said what he has loved most about being a part of this production is “working with the very talented cast, and especially with the professional production crew and designers.”
Derkach said he has enjoyed how small the cast is, therefore they have really gotten to know each other. “I wouldn’t have gotten to know a few of the cast members plus the director, stage manager, and assistant stage manager if I weren’t in this show, so I’m really grateful for getting to be in this production,” he said.
“Deathtrap” will premiere in Byrum Hall on Dec. 8 at 7:30 p.m. The play is a comic thriller that lasts approximately two hours with a fifteen-minute intermission. “Deathtrap” will also be shown on Dec. 9 and 10 at 7:30 p.m. and Dec. 11 at 2:30 p.m.
To Purchase tickets in advance for “Deathtrap,” call the Reardon Auditorium Box Office at 765-641-4140. Tickets may also be purchased at the play at Byrum Hall. Adult tickets are $12. Senior and military tickets are $10, and student tickets are $5. Students can also receive a free ticket to one performance at Byrum Hall.