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This Week on Mystery Theatre:
Cracking the Code

March 6th, 2023

The irregular tapping came from the other side of the sheet-metal wall that separated Paul’s and Harold’s cell from the totally enclosed tank for desperados next door.

Experimentally, Paul tapped on his side.

“Twenty-three—eight-fifteen,” came the reply. Paul recognized the schoolboy’s code: one for A, two for B … twenty-three—eight-fifteen” was “Who?”

That’s a rudimentary version of tap code (also known as knock code) depicted in Kurt Vonnegut’s Player Piano, a novel that a recent report on NPR called prescient in its anticipation of “the current state of AI and automation.” You’ll find it on page 306 of the Dial Press Trade Paperback edition, and it’s just one of a number of literary accounts of a code system introduced in this week’s installment … [read more at The 21st-Century Scop].

This Week on Mystery Theatre:
There’s Something in the Basement

March 2nd, 2023


Who’s there?

Here’s the setup:

You’re in the basement of a theatre building. Alone. The rest of the company is next door, painting a set on the main stage while you hunt for something called a snow-patterned gobo.

The basement is a mess. No organization. Just a chaotic jumble of old props and flats … and pieces of furniture that the theatre company inherited … [read more at The 21st-Century Scop].

Investigating a Playhouse Ghost:
What is the Sound of One Ghost Clapping?

February 28th, 2023

This month’s five-act installment of Prime Stage Mystery Theatre picks up where our previous story left off, with mysterious sounds emanating from somewhere in a theatre building.

<<< An actor portrays the ghost of John Johns in a still from Point Park University’s mini-documentary Ghost Stories of the Pittsburgh Playhouse.

But before diving into this new mystery, I had the chance to meet with … [read more at The 21st-Century Scop.]

Next on Mystery Theatre:
Dragons, Ciphers, & Two Locked Doors

February 25th, 2023

A few years ago, I discovered bats in the attic. A whole family nesting in the rafters. After consulting the local critter specialist, I learned that evicting a bat family is a bit more involved than eradicating carpenter ants. You can just exterminate them. Nor can you trap them and take them to someone else’s neighborhood. Instead, when the young are able to fly, you fit their entry point with a one-way door. Exit only. That way, they get locked out and (one hopes) don’t get back in some other way. Fortunately … [read more at The 21st-Century Scop].