JC play ‘The Final Twist’Is it a prescription for the perfect murder or is it a vehicle for a world-famous aging actor to get back on top?
Is it a prescription for the perfect murder or is it a vehicle for a world-famous aging actor to get back on top?
In “The Final Twist,” a Jamestown College Theatre production set for Feb. 11-13, an aging actor has commissioned an author suffering from writer’s block to write a new script — a murder mystery complete with perfect alibis. The writer stays with Sir Merlin Foster and his wife, Eden Dundee, at their country cottage about 50 miles out of London. The time is the present day.
“An aging actor hires a struggling writer to write a play for him to bring back his fame and save him financially,” said Rachel Braff, the director. “But the actor also wants to murder his much younger, very rich wife.”
Or does he? And, is Dundee rich? JC freshman Jessee Boyle plays Dundee in the play.
“She has put all her money into his productions and now she’s broke,” Boyle said.
The two-act play is full of such twists and turns. Braff said when she read the script last summer, she couldn’t get over it. It has a cast of four, with Boyle the only female. Brandon Bodien plays Foster, Matthew Nies plays Charlie Nicholson and David Klusterman plays Morten Rifles.
“It’s a great cast,” Braff said. “I’ve been surprised at what they’ve given me performance-wise. It’s a suspense story with more comedy than I thought when I read the script. The things I thought would be straight turned out to be funny.”
Braff said the play was written by Ken Whitmore and Alfred Bradley in 1996 as a BBC radio performance.
“Then it was made into a stage play,” she said.
Boyle and Braff are cagey about what occurs during the play, saying they want to be careful not to give the story away. But they hint.
“So when is a play not a play,” Boyle said.
“Is it fantasy or is it real? How do you tell what’s real?” Braff said.
Dundee is not an innocent ingénue, Boyle said. Braff added “Merlin swept her off her feet and her illusions have been shattered.”
“But after everything is done, she’s not the heroine of the day,” Boyle said. “And you’re always wondering what she’s really after. She’s so weepy and freaks out a lot.”
The two women say the play is part suspense, part drama with touches of comedy. The humor is British and subtle and the accents are also British, Braff said. There’s also some romance.
“Merlin is fascinatingly awesome,” Braff said. “All the characters have a façade. They’re very interesting but there’s a little dark in them.”
Directing this production is Braff’s senior project. She’s majoring in theater and said she has been involved in most of the Jamestown College theatre productions. This is the first full-length production she’s directed. Last year, she directed a one-act play. After graduation, she plans to go to film school.
“I want to do it all,” she said of her aspirations.
Braff said only Bodien might be a recognizable face in “The Final Twist.” He’s another theater major and a veteran of the JC stage. The three others in the cast are freshmen. All of them have theater experience.
“People will see new faces and it should be a good show to watch,” Braff said.
“The Final Twist” is on stage next week with all three performances starting at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $7 and can be reserved by calling the JC box office at 252-3467, extension 2435, or e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
“The audience will get a look at the illusion of fame,” Braff said of the play. “This play also shows the darker side to the glory.”
Sun reporter Toni Pirkl can be reached at (701) 952-8453
or by e-mail at email@example.com