Friends and family gather to celebrate the retirement of a successful investment banker at his vacation home on a remote island off the coast of Maine. One by one, house guests are quietly murdered as a storm knocks out communications, leaving terrified survivors unable to summon help.
Thus begins "Absolutely Dead", a chilling new mystery by playwright Michael Walker, premiering at the prestigious International Mystery Writers' Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky, tonight, June 14 through 17. Actress Kathy Garver, best-known for her role as Cissy on the classic CBS series "Family Affair," co-stars in "Absolutely Dead" as Ruth Morgan co-owner of the house where the creepiness occurs.
"I love mysteries; it's my favorite genre," she said. "This play has many layers. You could watch it several times, and each time, see something new. It has a real twist that will surprise everyone, although you might figure it out, if you pay close attention."
No stranger to suspense, Garver has appeared in several episodes of the "The Twilight Zone" radio dramas. She has also appeared in many TV shows and movies during her life-long career in Hollywood, from "The Ten Commandments" with Charlton Heston to, more recently, "Hercules Saves Christmas" with Shorti Rossi. Co-starring with Garver in "Absolutely Dead" are Kentucky-based actors Tan Mayhall, Madeline Lauzon, Grey Hurt, Carroll Wallace, Kathryn Swanson, Kevin Bickwermert and Kelly Elder.
"Absolutely Dead" is already attracting positive buzz, having been developed through readings at Boston Playwrights' Theatre (Kate Snodgrass, Artistic Director). It received a public reading at the WorkShop Theatre Company in New York City, and was runner-up for the Robert J. Pickering Award for Excellence in Playwriting.
"Absolutely Dead was written to join a small number of Agatha Christie-type scripts in both its structure and its presentation," Walker says. "In some mysteries, the audience knows the killer, but not how the murder happened. In this play the audience has to figure out both the 'who' and the 'how.' It's a great ride for the audience and the last fifteen minutes are…well, a killer."
Walker, who resides near Boston, Massachusetts, is a published poet and the author of dramas, mysteries and thrillers. He has been an actor and director in professional theatre for 30 years including seven years as the Artistic Director of the Summer Theatre at Mt. Holyoke and four years as Associate Producer and Artistic Director of Foothills Theatre Company in Worcester, Massachusetts. He holds a BA in Theatre Arts from the University of Massachusetts (Amherst) and an MFA in Playwriting from Brandeis University. He is a member of Actors' Equity Association and the Dramatists Guild.
"Absolutely Dead" is directed by Los Angeles-based Todd Nielsen. With a long list of credits, Nielsen is a recipient of several Drama-Logue and L.A. Weekly awards and a two-time nominee for the Theatre L.A. Ovation Award for productions of "Working" and "King of Hearts." He was also nominated for an L.A. Drama Critics Circle award for his work on the musical "Rags."
"Absolutely Dead" will be performed tonight, June 14 and June 15 and 16 at 7:00 p.m. and June 17 at 1:00 p.m., in Cannon Hall at RiverPark Center, Owensboro, Kentucky. Admission is included with festival packages ranging in price from $21.50 to $58.50. For festival and ticket information, visit www.newmysteries.org.
Information about "Absolutely Dead" is available at www.walkerplays.com.