You are currently browsing the archives for the “The Play’s the Thing” tag.


Prime Stage Mystery Theatre:
Bringing Mystery to the Virtual Stage

February 25th, 2021

Agatha Christie had quite a formula. She didn’t discover it. Others employed similar elements before her, and many more have practiced it since. But Christie perfected it with her cozy who-done-its featuring Hercule Poirot.

At left: Hercule Poirot (Albert Finney) explains his solution to the story’s mystery in Sidney Lumet’s adaptation of Agatha Christie’s Murder on the Orient Express (1974). Available on Hulu and HBO Max.

Christie’s mysteries generally begin by introducing a cast of eccentric characters, progress quickly to an inciting incident (usually a murder), and kick into gear with the arrival of a master investigator who works to solve the mystery. In the end, the sleuth gathers the characters for a big reveal. The mystery is explained, the culprit identified, and order restored.

Rian Johnson pays homage to the Christie’s formula in Knives Out, and I’ve endeavored to do something similar in the Mystery Theatre stories “A Knavish Piece of Mystery” and “The Play’s the Thing.” The latter debuts today on AppleAudibleDeezerLibsyn,  Spotify as well as the Prime Stage website.

At right: The cast of Knive Out assembles for mast sleuth  Benoit Blanc’s solution to the story’s mystery. 

By presenting the story as a podcast series, Prime Stage is able to invite listeners to take part in solving the mystery. Click the link below to join in … or go to the Mystery Theatre’s Lybsyn page where you’ll also find a comment box and a Prime Stage email link. Joining a mystery has never been easier.

Nightmares and Mysteries:
Prime Stage Mystery Theatre – Season Two

February 23rd, 2021

Heard about the actor’s nightmare? It’s a variation of the dream in which you find yourself completely out of place and unprepared for a given situation. You know, like being in the produce section of a grocery store, standing behind a stack of vegetables and hoping no one notices your naked. Or perhaps it’s the covid-era dread of sitting in a crowded classroom and realizing you’ve left your mask at home.

In the actor’s nightmare, a performer stands clueless before a packed house, unable to remember a single line of dialogue.

The dream is so prevalent among actors that Christopher Durang devoted an entire play to it, fittingly titled The Actor’s Nightmare.

The premise also provides a central conflict in Season Two of the Prime Stage Mystery Theatre podcast, which returns February 25 and continues with new installments each Thursday in March. Titled “The Play’s the Thing,” this new story reunites the characters from Season One’s “A Knavish Piece of Mystery” and pushes them into a puzzle featuring a performer who goes missing on opening night. And yes, before it’s over, one of the characters will stand clueless in the footlights.

You can read more about the show at Tribe-Live or the Prime Stage website, where you’ll also find links to last season’s mystery. The podcast is free, made possible by support from listeners like you. If you like what you hear, consider helping to ensure future podcasts by becoming a patron. And please remember to rate, follow, and tell your friends about the show. Doing so increases our visibility and helps bring new eyes and ears to Prime Stage’s virtual season.

And keep in mind, since each PSMT episode ends with a question or prompt regarding the story’s mystery, you’re invited to chime in by leaving a comment at the Prime Stage website or Facebook page. Listener feedback played an exciting role in Season One, and we’re hoping to build on that spirit of interaction in Season Two.

Prime Stage Mystery Theatre is available just about anywhere you get your podcasts, including Apple, Audible, Deezer, Libsyn, and Spotify. Each installment runs about fifteen minutes, so you’ll be able to fit them in between trips to the produce section or crowded classroom.

Just remember to dress accordingly … and I’ll meet you there.