Behind the curtain


Off-Main Street Players take on ‘Deathtrap’

Sydney Bruhl and Cliff Anderson (portrayed by Larry Adams and Jamie Johnson, respectively) sprout an idea from the depths of greed and desperation. (Submitted Photos)

The Off-Main Street Players have performed everything from skits to plays, and even local commercials. But Ira Levin’s 1978 Tony-nominated “Deathtrap” presents a whole new challenge.

Filled with layered, intricate plots and sarcastic humor, the actors and actresses transform into a group of selfish, devious characters willing to do almost anything for fame and wealth.

“Deathtrap,” running Friday and Saturday at Zionsville Town Hall “is a play about people who want the most for themselves,” director Sam Fogleman said. “As characters, they’re probably the most selfish people I’ve ever seen. (It’s) meant to be a play-watcher’s play.”

The production revolves around Sydney Bruhl, a successful playwright of Broadway thrillers. Played by Larry Adams, Sydney becomes desperate as he hits a literary dry spell and has to financially rely on his wife, Myra, played by Susan McClelland. When meeting Jamie Johnson’s Cliff Anderson, an idea is sprouted from the depths of greed, twisting the plot deeper into the unknown.

McClelland is a Zionsville resident, while Adams maintains a medical practice there. Paul Gootee, another Zionsville native, plays the role of Porter.

“A comedy-thriller seems like an oxymoron, but it still scares the pants off of you,” producer George Piper II said. “I am familiar with the script, and still, the characters build so much suspense. They get us on edge, even though we know what’s going to happen.”

Transforming into the role of being selfish and greedy can seem a bit daunting, but McClelland has methods of becoming the character.

“You find that piece of the character in yourself,” she says. “I do a lot of my own homework. I looked into when the characters were born, what plays Myra and Sydney would go to. I think Myra, particularly, fits me.”

Adams spent time figuring out the dynamics of his character.

“The difficult thing is, at some points, (he’s) trying to convince his wife of something untrue, then convince the audience of something untrue,” he said. “You try to figure out who you’re convincing (of what).”

As a comedy-thriller, this play has everything from humor to suspense. Performed by a group of experienced actors, “Deathtrap” keeps everyone on the edge of their seat until the very end.

“It scares me and I know what’s coming,” McClelland said.

  • WHAT: “Deathtrap”
  • WHEN: Friday and Saturday, 8 p.m.
  • WHERE: Zionsville Town Hall, 1100 W. Oak St., Zionsville
  • COST: $15
  • INFO: Visit

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