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Ira Levin

Notes from director Jane Leakey
Auditions at The Place, Wilfred Road, Taunton, TA1 1TB
7.30pm, Thursday 21st & Monday 25th November

Deathtrap is an edge-of-your-seat thriller set in the isolated New England home of playwright Sidney Bruhl. The action centres around “Deathtrap” - a new thriller by unknown dramatist Clifford Anderson, which he has sent to Sidney for comment. Or has he? Without a success to his credit for years, Sidney plots, with his reluctant wife Myra, how to plagiarise “Deathtrap”. These plans may well include murder. Even multiple murders...

The production has a cast of 3 men and 2 women. Sidney and Myra ideally need to have standard, mid-Atlantic American accents. However, if this is not possible or easily sustained, then we can change them to British expatriates.

The characters of Clifford Anderson and Sidney’s lawyer, Porter Milgrim, do need American accents. Dutch clairvoyant, Helga ten Dorp, definitely needs a Dutch accent. (Which I can help with, as I played Helga a few years ago.)

The play consists of two acts and all the action takes place in Sidney Bruhl’s study, in Westport, Connecticut.

The plot has some lighthearted moments to alleviate the twists and turns and psychological tension. There are some exciting, really physical sections, involving stage fighting, murder, falling down a flight of stairs, the use of weapons (including a crossbow) and copious amounts of blood...

I am very excited to be given this opportunity to direct such a great play. First published in 1978, it will be set in that period, complete with old-fashioned typewriters and telephones. (And flared trousers). I consider the play to be a classic and it still holds its own after more than 40 years.

Attention to detail is vital for this play. If the actors are unable to sustain a credible American accent, then I am all for tweaking some of the dialogue and setting it in England. Sidney and Clifford both use typewriters. To help the actors become proficient (but not touch typists), my aim is for them to have the use of typewriters so they can practise at home.



I plan to rehearse three times a week - Monday and Thursday evenings and Sunday afternoons.