The 2nd Star Production presentation of the comedy “Bloody Murder,” opening Friday at the Bowie Playhouse, starts out like a lot of British murder mysteries.
A mix of the usual suspects assemble at Lady Somerset’s manor, including an exotic countess, an innocent ingenue, a major in the military, a worthless nephew, an aging actor, a mysterious Chinese man, a chief inspector and a trusty maid.
Then Lady Somerset announces she can’t do it anymore and refuses to participate.
Can’t do what?
That’s the twist in the usual murder mystery formula director Charles Maloney says makes the play such a fun and funny experience.
“It’s a sudden turn, in which things are not what you thought they were,” he says. “It’s quite interesting. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
This is the first time the play, which runs through Sept. 22, has been produced in the Washington area, says Maloney, who has directed about 20 plays for 2nd Star Productions.
Maloney says he’s not giving away the ending, and neither is “Bloody Murder” playwright Ed Sala, a retired actor who has worked on Broadway, off Broadway and in films and television.
But Sala says he’s happy to talk about the creative process and his characters, which he’s delighted to see come to life on stage.
“I love seeing it materialize,” he says about the transformation from page to stage.
“When you write something, the characters are running around in your head, but they’re now concrete, they’re real,” he says.
Audience members will have a chance to personally talk to Sala, along with Maloney, at a dinner at Rip’s County Inn restaurant in Bowie before the show on Saturday, Sept. 8.
The $40 cost of the dinner does not cover the cost of tickets to the show, which are $20 for general admission and $17 for seniors, students and groups of 15 people or more.
On Sunday, Sala will also be on hand, along with cast and crew, for a free question-and-answer session following the 3 p.m. matinee.
“It’s a study of the creative process,” Sala says about his play. “It’s more about the playwright’s relationship with his characters than a murder mystery.”