Murder for Dummies

By: Pat Cook
Play #: 8433
Pages: 79 pgs
Cast: Cast: 6 m, 10 w, much doubling possible

“So you want to commit a murder.” This is the first line in a book purchased by Myron Bernhart. And here’s a guy who knows his books since he’s collected some rare ones and proud of it. That is until his nagging wife, Marge, decides to sell them. He tries to reason with her but is argued down, not only by her but the Civic Arts League, her cronies who, of course, meet constantly at their house. When all else fails, Myron realizes it’s time to take drastic action and plans it all out. Of course, his imagination tends to wander a bit--from German psychiatrists to CSI investigators to hard-boiled 1940s-type detectives. So he sets up the perfect murder. His wife is home alone, he has an airtight alibi, and he prepares his victim a “special” glass of tea. Everything is working, just like the book said. Marge takes the glass of tea, sits on the couch and quietly brings the glass up to her lips…when the doorbell rings. From here on it seems as if everybody shows up! Marge’s women’s club, a rare book collector, Myron’s buddy Jack, and, worst of all, Marge’s domineering sister! And in the midst of all the confusion the wrong person drinks the “special” tea…and dies! What follows is a parade of policemen, blackmailers, and in-laws as Myron wonders just what went wrong. And you will, too, in this fast-paced comedy-mystery where nothing seems to go right, even when you go by the book. Of course, that’s when the title of the book is “Murder for Dummies.”

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Productions

PURCHASE LINE JUNIOR-SENIOR HI 1 Performance(s)
COMMODORE, PA 11/15/2018
Midland CSD 1 Performance(s)
Wyoming, IA 11/3/2018
FUQUA SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
FARMVILLE, VA 5/11/2018
SOUTH SIDE BAPTIST SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
OAK LAWN, IL 4/27/2018
EMMANUEL CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
HARTSVILLE, SC 4/19/2018
SALINE AREA PLAYERS 3 Performance(s)
ANN ARBOR, MI 4/12/2018
GARFIELD MIDDLE SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
LAKEWOOD, OH 3/15/2018
CORSICA-STICKNEY SCHOOL 3 Performance(s)
STICKNEY, SD 3/15/2018
VOORHEES THEATRE COMPANY 1 Performance(s)
VOORHEES, NJ 2/17/2018
HESSTON HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
HESSTON, KS 2/1/2018
PICAYUNE ON STAGE 3 Performance(s)
PICAYUNE, MS 1/19/2018
GETHSEMANE PLAYERS 3 Performance(s)
MORRISDALE, PA 1/11/2018
CAMBRIDGE HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
CAMBRIDGE, ID 12/12/2017
JUNCTION CITY HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
JUNCTION CITY, KS 11/17/2017
GRAHAM HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
ST. PARIS , OH 11/17/2017
JONESBORO HODGE HIGH SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
JONESBORO, LA 11/15/2017
LATHROP HIGH SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
LATHROP, MO 11/11/2017
WEST YORK SENIOR HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
YORK, PA 11/2/2017
RAINIER MIDDLE SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
AUBURN, WA 10/27/2017
CASA GRANDE UNION HS 4 Performance(s)
CASA GRANDE, AZ 9/15/2017
ALTA VISTA ELEM SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
QUESTA, NM 5/15/2017
WONEWOC CENTER DRAMA CLUB 2 Performance(s)
LA VALLE , WI 5/12/2017
VENTURE ACADEMYSJCOE 1 Performance(s)
STOCKTON, CA 5/11/2017
GREYBULL HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
GREYBULL, WY 4/28/2017
SANDALWOOD HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
JACKSONVILLE, FL 3/30/2017
NEWMAN GROVE PUBLIC SCHOOLS 1 Performance(s)
NEWMAN GROVE, NE 3/6/2017
HOLTON PUBLIC SCHOOLS 2 Performance(s)
HOLTON, MI 2/25/2017
HOLTON MS HS THEATRICS 1 Performance(s)
HOLTON, MI 2/24/2017
EAST LINCOLN HIGH SCHOOL 3 Performance(s)
DENVER, NC 2/13/2017
SOUL SANCTUARY 3 Performance(s)
WINNIPEG, MB 2/4/2017
MORRIS CENTRAL SCHOOL DRAMA CL 2 Performance(s)
MORRIS, NY 1/27/2017
GASTON HIGH SCHOOL DRAMA 7 Performance(s)
GASTON, OR 12/12/2016
BALD EAGLE AREA DRAMA CLUB 3 Performance(s)
WINGATE, PA 11/11/2016
PLAYHOUSE 22 3 Performance(s)
EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ 8/5/2016
HARRISBURG HIGH SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
HARRISBURG, OR 6/15/2016
DURAND HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
DURAND, MI 5/13/2016
CAREY SCHOOL 3 Performance(s)
CAREY, ID 4/29/2016
CROSWELL-LEXINGTON H.S. DRAMA 1 Performance(s)
CROSWELL, MI 4/22/2016
BONNEVILLE JR. HIGH 1 Performance(s)
SALT LAKE CITY, UT 4/6/2016
OTTO-ELDRED SCHOOL DISTRICT 2 Performance(s)
DUKE CENTER, PA 3/30/2016
CARO HS DRAMA CLUB 2 Performance(s)
CARO, MI 3/10/2016
WOODLAND HIGH 6 Performance(s)
WOODLAND, CA 2/15/2016
RCHS THEATER DEPARTMENT 3 Performance(s)
SPENCER, WV 12/17/2015
BEDFORD COMMUNITY SCHOOLS 2 Performance(s)
BEDFORD, IA 11/21/2015
MEDINA PUBLIC SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
MEDINA, ND 11/20/2015
CAL COMMUNITY SCHOOLS 2 Performance(s)
LATIMER, IA 11/13/2015
PCHS FALL PLAY 2 Performance(s)
NORMAL, IL 11/13/2015
LOWELL HIGH SCHOOL THEATER DEP 4 Performance(s)
LOWELL, IN 11/12/2015
COMMUNITY ART PLAYERS 2 Performance(s)
SALISBURY, MO 10/31/2015
SOUTHEAST OF SALINE HIGH SCHOO 2 Performance(s)
GYPSUM, KS 10/3/2015
NORTHWOODS PERFORMING ARTS 6 Performance(s)
PRIEST RIVER, ID 10/2/2015
REDEEMER LUTHERAN CHURCH 2 Performance(s)
FIRCREST, WA 9/18/2015
HENLEY HIGH SCHOOL 3 Performance(s)
KLAMATH FALLS, OR 5/14/2015
MIDWAY HIGH SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
NEWTON GROVE, NC 5/14/2015
SOUTH SUMMIT HIGH 4 Performance(s)
KAMAS, UT 4/28/2015
UNION JR SR HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
MODOC, IN 4/17/2015
SHAWNEE HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
LIMA, OH 4/10/2015
ATCHISON COUNTY COMMUNITY JSH 3 Performance(s)
EFFINGHAM, KS 3/27/2015
DW DANIEL HIGH SCHOOL 3 Performance(s)
CENTRAL, SC 3/19/2015
MANOR MIDDLE SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
LANCASTER, PA 3/13/2015
MACARTHUR HIGH HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
LEVITTOWN, NY 3/12/2015
DODGELAND THEATER 2 Performance(s)
JUNEAU, WI 3/6/2015
GEM PLAYERS 7 Performance(s)
ETOWAH, TN 2/20/2015
GREENVILL HIGH SCHOOL THEATER 2 Performance(s)
GREENVILLE, OH 12/19/2014
TOWNSEND SCHOOLS 2 Performance(s)
WINSTON, MT 11/24/2014
THEATRE GROUP 3 Performance(s)
FAIRFIELD, MI 11/7/2014
NORTHEASTERN HIGH SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
MANCHESTER, PA 10/18/2014
AMATEUR COMMUNITY THEATRE OF R 6 Performance(s)
ROWLETT, TX 8/8/2014
ELKTON MIDDLE SCHOOL 2 Performance(s)
ELKTON, VA 7/26/2014
WHEELER COUNTY HIGH SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
ALAMO, GA 6/1/2014
GRACE CHRISTIAN SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
SAGINAW, MI 5/15/2014
TENNESSEE VALLEY THEATRE 6 Performance(s)
Spring City, TN 4/11/2014
HERITAGE GRAND DRAMA CLUB 2 Performance(s)
KATY, TX 4/6/2014
CRESTLINE HS/ PIONEER CTC 2 Performance(s)
CRESTLINE, OH 4/5/2014
N RIDGEVILLE HS DRAMA CLUB 3 Performance(s)
NORTH RIDGEVILLE, OH 3/27/2014
VALIER HIGH 1 Performance(s)
VALIER, MT 3/22/2014
LANESBORO ISD 229 3 Performance(s)
LANESBORO, MN 3/20/2014
PHOEBUS HIGH SCHOOL 1 Performance(s)
HAMPTON, VA 11/29/2013
SBHS DRAMA 3 Performance(s)
PRINCETON, NJ 1/16/2013

Behind The Scenes

PAT COOK TALKS ABOUT

“MURDER FOR DUMMIES”

 

 

Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?

 

A: I have always been a huge fan of James Thurber and ran across "The Catbird Seat" online. After reading it for the umpteenth time I got to thinking about Thurber's most famous character, Walter Mitty. Then I wondered what if this type of person decided to get rid of his wife, how would he go about that? That's what got me off and running, with this story of a bookworm who plans just such an enterprise and, like Mitty, fantasizes all sorts of ramifications. It was great fun to write and got me to go back to read more Thurber...and Benchley...and Perelman...

 

Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PLAY? WHY?

 

A: It would have to be the fantasies. Those were SO much fun to come up with, as with all fantasies whether onstage or in real life.

 

Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM?

 

A: I believe I answered that one, for the most part, in the first question. The other characters in the show I would have to attribute to another idol of mine, George S. Kaufman.

 

Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?

 

A: To introduce those who aren't familiar with Thurber to this lovely brilliant wit. I do hope they'll get as much of a kick out of his works as I have. Those who know Thurber already know just what I'm talking about.

 

Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?

 

A: Just that I hope this show beings them a laugh or two.