MY FATAL VALENTINE is set at a convention of romance writers and their fans. The purpose of the event is to honor five authors and present the Loveknot Award for the Best Romance of the Year, to be given by Heartthrob Books. The actors interact, in character, with the audience throughout the event.
Practice these audition pages: FATALVALENTINE audition scene.pdf
Scene One occurs as the audience arrives. Basically, “mini-scenes” and confrontations occur in the lobby. The script describes the action, but relies on the improvisational skills of the actors. Characters are encouraged to initiate conversations with audience members and establish their relationships, personalities, etc.
Scene Two includes introduction of the authors with their latest books, interpretive readings from these books, the specialty acts, “the murder” and an interrogation scene. The action on stage was originally played downstage of a grand curtain. Again, any playing area will do, although adaptations for “the murder” may be dictated by your location. Scene Two is scripted, although characters can digress from the script in order to interact with the audience (“asides”, etc. - but always ending with the next actor’s cue!!) At the end of Scene Two, the audience is sent out for intermission, with instructions.
Scene Three is intermission. The audience members are able to question suspects individually. You can use an evidence display case to hold the authors’ books, the blackmail note, the murder weapon, etc. At a pre-arranged signal, the audience is sent back into the theatre after casting ballots for the suspect they think “did it”. Results are quickly tallied.
Scene Four is the solution scene. The suspect who has received the most votes will, indeed, be the guilty party. There is a solution scene for each suspect.
CAST OF CHARACTERS Besides giving the “basics” of each character, the following describes motives, etc. In the case of the Romance Writers, the script will use their real names, except for Hattie, who is known to almost every one as “Lucretia”. MAUDE PETRY - the hostess and organizer of the event. Harried and continually flustered, Maude is the President of FARN - Fans of Romance Novels. Dressed nicely. Any age over 35. She will be in view during the murder and is above suspicion. BENTON FISH - the Editor-in-Chief at Heartthrob Books. He is also the Master of Ceremonies for the event and, as such, begins the evening very much in charge. This is a situation that will change and Benton’s demeanor and confidence quickly erodes. Dressed in a suit. Has a major crush on Jane. He will also be in full view during the murder and is above suspicion. JANE FORTHRIGHT - Head of Security at Heartthrob Books. Jane is beautiful, no-nonsense, terse, and direct. Any age over 25. She has no motive, is present during the murder and is also above suspicion. She will handle the investigation. HATTIE GLICK (pen name - LUCRETIA DEWITT) A Romance Writer. Very arrogant, rather crude, loud and obnoxious. Her conversation is punctuated with frequent abrasive “HA!’s. She is wearing a purple suit over a white blouse. A hat makes her especially noticeable. Any age over 40. Her books have all been very different. No two were alike. Which is not surprising considering she didn’t write any of them. She’s been blackmailing all of the Writers with the “dirt” she has on each of them. But instead of extorting cash, she’s forced each one to write a book which she has passed off as her own. The final straw will be when she wins the “Heartthrob Book of the Year” for “Savannah Passage” which was written by one of the others. MAYNARD GLICK - Lucretia’s husband. He’s a basically sweet guy for someone who works for the FBI - in the Witness Relocation Program. He’s also been henpecked by Hattie for years. Wearing a shirt and tie. Any age over 40. PRISCILLA EMBERLY - A Romance Writer. Very Victorian, sweet and fussy. Wearing a dress covered in ruffles, ribbons and flounces. Any age over 40, the older the better. The Emberly books are always set in romantic locales and feature heroines who are as chaste as they are “chased.” In Priscilla’s world relationships are never consummated beyond the passionate kiss. This is very unlike the other books that she used to write with her sister, Veronica, under the pen name CALIBAN STERN. Those books were only sold behind the counters of seedy stores. Unfortunately, Lucretia discovered these early books on a day she was visiting for tea. VERONICA EMBERLY - Priscilla’s twin sister and co-author. They are completely devoted to each other and to their books. Dressed in a fashion similar to Priscilla. Like her twin, Veronica is petrified that their fans will find out about their other book. Sometimes played by same actress as priscilla holding a puppet. CHET FARQUIRK - (pen name - ALLISSA WENTWORTH) A Romance Writer. Chet couldn’t make it as a serious novelist so he’s been “reduced” to writing romance novels. He actually hates them. He’s a tough-talking, abrasive guy. Dressed in a rumpled suit, with an unlit cigar butt dangling from his lips. Any age over 30. His books usually feature exotic locales and lots and lots of sex and violence Chet “talks” and writes tough but he’s really a softie. Especially where Mitzi is concerned. MITZI MOONEY - Chet’s girlfriend. Mitzi acts dumb, mostly because she is. She looks and dresses like a bimbo. She’s also very nervous. Being in the Witness Protection Program can do that to you. Age 20-30 EDITH CRUMPOWSKI - (pen name IVANA) A Romance Writer and a mousy little thing, Edith lives through the romantic fantasies she creates for her heroine, Dijon. Dressed unattractively and poorly, no makeup, her hair pulled back, etc. Edith was a prodigy - her first Dijon book was printed when she was 16. Has a secret crush on Benton Fish and made the mistake of confiding in Lucretia. She’d just die if he knew how she felt. MARTHA CRUMPOWSKI - Edith’s mother. Overbearing and domineering. Dressed in a sensible dress, sensible shoes etc. Twenty years older than Edith and she’ll do ANYTHING to make sure Edith continues to churn out the books. LADY DOROTHY KNOLLS OF WYNCHLEY - (pen name PORTIA ST. REGIS). A Romance Writer. A British aristocrat from the tip of her elegantly coiffed head to the cardigan around her shoulders, to the single string of pearls to her low-heeled pumps. Very ladylike and regal.. This is the image which she has carefully created and cultivated, but if the truth were known, she is actually an American - Billy Sue Barlow of Gator Junction, Arkansas. Her son, Denis, was actually the result of a liason with one of the Gator Junction males - she’s not quite sure which one. But she’d do anything to keep him from finding out. The only person she’s ever told was her psychiatrist. Which is where Lucretia used to work - as a cleaning lady - before she became a famous writer. Lady Dorothy is eighteen years older than Denis. DENIS KNOLLS - Dorothy’s playboy son. Fancies himself to be Cary Grant. He’s always in need of cash and is constantly being rescued from various escapades - usually involving women - by his mother. Dressed in blazer with ascot, Denis can be anywhere from 15 to late 30's.