If you heard the confessions of a killer, would it change the way you look at things?
In Jeffrey Hatcher’s Murderers, which plays at The Junction on May 4 and 5, you have just such a trial. Set in a retirement home in Florida, called Riddle Key Retirement Centre, the show begins with the blaze of truth: three residents are confessing to slaughter. And you, as part of the audience, must now take on your part: as judge, jury and observer.
“To tell this story we have done away with the fourth wall. The characters acknowledge the audience and engage them throughout the process of telling their stories. Hence, I have looked at this as a dialogue, as dialogue between the character and the audience. This has been one of the key briefs to all my actors — do not see this as a monologue, rather as a conversation between the character and the audience,” says director Kailash Nair (left).
The three characters — portrayed in each show by a different set of actors — are all, he says, “relatable.” To tear at the fibres of what you believe is the aim of the show.
“The audience should expect to be immersed in the stories three extremely different characters who tell you their drive, their motivation and the justification of the murder they committed,” says Nair, whose credits include Dangerous Corners and Arsenic and Old Lace.
One is a man who marries his mother-in-law to evade taxes; another a woman scorned; the third is part of the management, and part of the reason death keeps paying the quiet community visits.
And so that beggars the question, do those putting up the play see the world in shades of black and white? Can killing ever be justified? “Murder has its own definitions: [Singer] Morrissey thinks meat is murder, some laws classify the assisted suicide of terminally ill people murder, the US and other countries kill people for killing other people, so who is the ‘murderer’? However, if by murder we mean the taking of another’s life against their will, then I would say no. Not even if by killing that one person you would save a whole village. The butterfly effect from your seemingly humanitarian act could be far worse,” says Sarah Potter, who plays Lucy.
But the macabre storyline may be just the thing to keep the audience hooked. “I think everyone has had a slightly morbid fascination into the psychology of a killer. The debate into nature vs nuture. Is someone born to kill? Or is it though environment and circumstance? I think our audience will be continuing this debate, even after they have left the theatre,” says Sarah K Gibson, who plays Minka.
With a promise to lead you down dark corners and through intriguing streets, this confession-laced comedy promises an evening of merriment.
And who knows, it may just change your perspective too, one murder at a time.
Don’t miss it!
Murderers plays at The Junction, Al Serkal Avenue, Dubai on May 4 and 5. Tickets are Dh85.