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What’s Inside the Locked Room?
A Knavish Piece of Mystery – Act 3

October 15th, 2020

You might think that the best way to solve a locked-door mystery would be to open the room and see what’s inside. But what happens when what’s inside provides more questions than answers?

We’ll explore those possibilities today as Prime Stage Mystery Theatre’s podcast A Knavish Piece of Mystery enters its third week with a new episode that considers how the solutions we seek may not be solutions at all.

Also, we’ll take time at the beginning of the show to discuss suggestions for opening locked doors. Some practical, some extreme, and one or two that are maybe a little crazy — all in an effort to anticipate what our master sleuth August LaFleur might do as he attempts to solve the mystery of the sealed room.

You can listen in by clicking here or by using the embedded player at the bottom of this post.

If you’ve missed any of our previous episodes or if you’d like to get a refresher on what’s happened in the story so far, you can access the complete episode directory at the Prime Online podcast page. You’ll find that episode list here.

So get out your axes, hinge-pin pullers, and strips of door-hacking plastic as Mystery Theatre presents Act 3 of our locked-door who-done-it — a mystery in which we discover that the solutions we seek may not be solutions at all, and that the story’s knavish piece of mystery may be more puzzling than even a master sleuth can imagine.

Hit play. I’ll meet you there!

Prime Stage Theatre Presents:
A Knavish Piece of Mystery – Act II

October 8th, 2020

Strange things are afoot at the New Town Theatre!

Two actors are missing. Another has run off to hide in a water closet. And the New Town players are struggling to open a locked room that may harbor a terrible secret.

But August LaFleur holds back. An expert at devising and solving mysteries, he’s convinced that the real answers may lie deeper within the theatre’s renovated rehearsal space.

And so begins an exploration of a haunted brownstone — a windowless building with few exits … and ample places for mysteries to hide.

It all happens as A Knavish Piece if Mystery continues today at Prime Stage Mystery Theatre, and you can hear it all by clicking the player above or — if you missed the previous installments — by visiting the Mystery Theatre podcast library here. It’s all part of the virtual season of new performances being released under the banner Prime Online.

Other performances in the series will include a Zoom performance of Mockingbird, Kathryn Erskine’s National Book Award winning novel (adapted by Julie Jensen), and live-stream performances of Williard Simms’ Einstein, A Stage Portrait and an adaptation of Charles Dickens’ A Christmas Carol.

It’s all part of Prime Online’s mission of bringing theatre to you at home.

Also coming up is a virtual preview of Prime Stage’s 2021-22 season of live performances, which will kick off in November 2021 with my all-new adaptation of Frankenstein.

You can hear Prime Stage’s Operations Director Tina Cerny talk about these shows and more in the introduction to this week’s installment of A Knavish Piece.

Click the player at the top of this post. We’ll meet you there.

Prime Online Presents:
A Knavish Piece of Mystery

October 1st, 2020

Something strange is afoot at the New Town Theater. A dressing room is locked. Two actors are missing. And You are there to join the investigation as a cast and crew confront a mystery in which nothing is as it seems.

Get out your spy glasses and notepads … and prepare to take part in a behind-the-scenes adventure that explores the intersection of life and storytelling — an investigation in which You will discover that mysteries are everywhere.

To that end, after you finish listening, be sure to join the investigation by visiting the Prime Online Comments and Suggestions page, then plan to join us next Thursday as the mystery continues with Episode 2 of Prime Stage Theatre’s A Knavish Piece of Mystery. I’ll meet you there!

ARTICLES/PRESS:

PREVIOUS POSTS – Countdown to Mystery:

Countdown to Mystery: Zero Effect

September 29th, 2020

Some of the greatest detectives don’t work alone. Think of Holmes and Watson, Cagney and Lacey, Batman and Robin.

You get the idea.

Among the most interesting pairings are Rex Stout’s Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin, from the series that the members of Bouchercon (the World Mystery Convention) nominated as the “Best Mystery Series of the Century” in 2000. What sets Stout’s detective team apart from most others is that Wolfe is a morbidly obese recluse who never leaves his home, while Goodwin is a gregarious womanizer – a kind of Wolfe-avatar who goes out into the world to investigate the mysteries that the reclusive mastermind contemplates in solitude.

The contrasting images below: Nero Wolfe depicted in The American Magazine (1940) and Archie Goodwin, The Saturday Evening Post (1958).

The Wolfe-Goodwin team has been featured in a number of stage and screen adaptation over the years, most recently in A Nero Wolfe Mystery (2001-02), the A&E television series starring Maury Chaykin and Timothy Hutton.

There have also been a few films that seem loosely inspired by Rex Stout’s pairing of opposites, and it’s of these – the under-rated Zero Effect (1998) – that I’d like to recommend today.

Written and directed by Jake Kasdan, whose father Lawrence Kasdan wrote the mystery Body Heat (1981), Zero Effect centers on reclusive detective Daryl Zero (Bill Pullman) who solves a complicated mystery with the help of assistant Steve Arlo (Ben Stiller). Though not as well know as my previous recommendations (Sleuth, Deathtrap, Murder on the Orient Express, The Last of Shelia), the Zero Effect is worthy of rediscovery – both for the ingenuity of its mystery and its odd detective team.

Despite its relative obscurity, Zero Effect is available across most streaming platforms as well as on DVD and VHS. Sadly, no Blu-ray or 4K.

I have one more recommendation as we countdown to Prime Stage Theatre’s upcoming A Knavish Piece of Mystery. Look for it tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy Zero Effect.