Parlour Games


I can't quite remember exactly why I started writing Parlour Games, but I do remember wanting to write something along the lines of two of my favorite television shows: The Twilight Zone and Night Gallery.

I had been working in community theater for over ten years at the time and I remember that Stephen Wathen--a friend of mine and an incredible scenic artist and special effects wizard--enjoyed writing somewhat mysterious and supernatural plays in which he could utilize his stagecraft talents.

Audiences seemed to love to be scared live on stage. Also, I had recently finished compiling the published play version of The Martian Chronicles for Ray Bradbury and TheaterWest.

I suppose those were other reasons for Parlour Games--I had made people laugh, but I wondered if I could scare them a little at the same time.

"Habeus Corpus" was the first scene I wrote and for the record I'd like to state it was written eight years before the film Weekend at Bernie's (which--if you missed the cinematic gem--involved two people trying to make a corpse appear alive in front of unexpected guests).

So, I jumped backed into the anthology format and wrote six different scenes which all took place in the parlour of an English estate. (Note the British spelling in the title. I suppose I wanted to fool people into thinking it was a real British play. Ha ...)

I wrote a seventh scene, "Surprise", for a local high school so more kids could be added to the show. Because of the length of Parlour Games, the "At Ease" scene has yet to be produced. Another good reason might be because it requires the set to collapse during a WWII German bombing raid on England.

Gee ... maybe I could get Stephen Wathen to do it.