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Friday, July 25, 2014

Theater Schmeater Returns with a Silly Wayne Rawley Comedy

Posted by on Fri, Jul 25, 2014 at 11:47 AM

ATTACK OF THE KILLER MURDER... OF DEATH! Everyones a suspect—including the sweet young production assistant.
  • Courtesy of Theater Schmeater
  • ATTACK OF THE KILLER MURDER... OF DEATH! Everyone's a suspect—including the sweet young production assistant.

Playwright Wayne Rawley is at his best when he's skating a loose line between real tragedy and bizarre fantasy, propelling his characters and story lines forward with a rushing avalanche of smart but trashy gallows-humor wit. In his 2011 play Live! From the Last Night of My Life, he gave us a window into the mind of Doug Sample, a former Amazon.com employee who's wound up working the graveyard shift at a rural gas station. He's planning to kill himself once he's done for the night, and the play is a parade of freaks who float across Doug's consciousness. The result was a magnificent study of depression and work, somewhere between Chekhov and Clerks.

For Attack of the Killer Murder... of Death!, Rawley air-drops us into a creepy mansion on a remote island in the late 1950s where a bunch of Los Angeles weirdos are trying to film a B-grade (maybe even C-grade) horror movie. All the archetypes are there: the aging and demanding diva, the impatient director, the Commie writer who's trying to slip social commentary into his schlocky scripts, the rich producer, and so on. They've also got a terse detective in tow to work as their consultant. When the diva keels over, they're torn between finishing the film and trying to find out what killed her. When they find the island's only phone smashed, they realize they're in the middle of a murder scene—and they're all suspects.

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