I’ve recently completed my second full-length play, THE THIN MAN IN THE CHERRY ORCHARD. As the name suggests, the play is a mashup of two seemingly far-flung worlds; the hard boiled milieu of Dashiell Hammet’s glamorously pickled American sleuths Nick and Nora Charles; and the stoic inhabitants of Chekhov’s bleak Russian tundra. Naturally, a murder, and hilarity, ensue. Can Nick figure out who the murderer is before they run out of vodka?
Full length, approx. 100m, one intermission.
Would you like to read it? Here’s a 10-page sample.
PLACE: A suburb in Russia, not too far from Moscow.
CAST OF CHARACTERS
MADAME (MME) LIUBOV (50s) – Matriarch of the family. Elegant and refined in appearance. She is a spendthrift, and dirt poor, but wants to hold on to any shred of dignity left in her.
ANYA LIUBOV (20s) – MME. Liubov’s youngest daughter. Hopeful, impulsive.
VARYA LIUBOV (20s) – MME. Liubov’s adopted daughter, a few years older than Anya. Anxious, protective.
PETER TROVIMOV (30s) – Perpetual student and philosopher. Former tutor to MME. Liubov’s son and former paramour of Anya.
SIMON SMIRNOV (30s) – Caretaker of Cherry manor. Overworked, anxious and slightly bitter. Secretly in love with Varya.
NICK CHARLES (40s) – A detective. Witty and urbane. Devoted to his wife.
NORA CHARLES (40s) – A charming and witty sophisticate. Independently wealthy and madly in love with her husband.
INSPECTOR IVANOVICH (40s-50s) – Career law enforcement officer. Ineffectual, arrogant and stiff.
SETS AND LIGHTING
Single interior set; Most of the action takes place in a living room; Lighting changes should suffice for two scenes, an outdoor bench and the interior of a train compartment.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: Nick and Nora (of “The Thin Man” fame) are the perfect sophisticated couple. They drink a lot but should never appear drunk (hung over, yes, but never drunk). Their banter with each other is teasing and light hearted, never angry. They speak in the quick, snappy mode of 1940s screwball comedies, in direct contrast to the Chekovian characters, but they clearly adore each other.