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In this scene the private detective PLICKINGTON is interviewing ELAINE PLUMMER, an actress who is performing with the theater group for well below what she earned in her heyday.


(PLICKINGTON continues thinking at his desk. He is interrupted by a knock on the stage left door.)

PLICKINGTON: Come in, please.

(ELAINE enters wearing jeans and a blouse.)

PLICKINGTON: (He gets up excitedly and goes to shake her hand.) Ahh, Miss Plummer, it is my great pleasure to meet you.
ELAINE: (extending her left hand) My pleasure. Sorry, bit of a sprain there.
PLICKINGTON: Oops. I must say that I am embarrassed to have to interview you, but I would be remiss . . .
ELAINE: Don't be foolish. I will do everything I can to help you. What a horrible situation!
PLICKINGTON: I have been a fan of yours for many years.
"Person to Person," "Yelapa!," "Letters to a Stranger," "The Golden Triangle," "Flat Space." I can't decide which is my favorite role.
ELAINE: Thirty years ago! Really, you date yourself, Mr. Plickington, and me.
PLICKINGTON: You must excuse me. I am simply an investigator. You are a star, as bright as the sun to many of these people.
ELAINE: Huh, how can people look at the sun and not see its spots? I'm not a genius, Mr. Plickington. Like many actors, I'm arrogant and temperamental. But at least actors have an excuse. Our emotional intensity causes chronic indigestion.
PLICKINGTON: Ha! I hardly think of you as one with chronic indigestion. You regret your career?
ELAINE: After 40 years? My entire life has been in this business. If I regretted my career, I would be regretting my life. Admit that my entire life had no worth! Are you asking me to admit my entire life has no worth?
ELAINE: Maybe my bank account has no worth, but I would like to think my life has.
PLICKINGTON: Yes. I am sure many actors have both bank accounts and lives without much worth.
ELAINE: What?! Waiting on tables can be a very fulfilling career! When I was young I made sure I never wasted a minute pursuing something that wouldn't aid in achieving my goal.
ELAINE: My goal? Excuse me for being self-centered, Mr. Plickington. When one puts on makeup, it's a layer of protection. It's a mask. And after many performances, the mask becomes permanent. All outward-directed sentiments get reflected inward. I guess that's the price of being a "professional." A "pro." Do you understand?
PLICKINGTON: But what was it you once said about dressing rooms?
ELAINE: "I love dressing rooms?"
ELAINE: "I love dressing rooms. It's where people put their hair down and bare all their secrets, among other things."
PLICKINGTON: (laughs) Ahh, yes. Your dressing room. It prepares you for the stage, and for your life outside the stage.
ELAINE: We all have our masks. You have yours, Mr. Plickington.
PLICKINGTON: So observant.
ELAINE: The actor's tool.
PLICKINGTON: Can you see under my mask?
ELAINE: Are you flirting with me, Mr. Plickington, or are you testing me?
PLICKINGTON: (laughs) I could ask the same of you, Ms. Plummer.
ELAINE: Such a charming man. Do you know the secret of being charming? It's to make others think they're charming. You make me think I'm charming. You're not married?
PLICKINGTON: I'm like everybody else. Married, divorced, single. Except I skipped the first two stages.
ELAINE: (laughs) Well, I've done it twice. So we average out to normal.
PLICKINGTON: No, you've been divorced twice and I've never been divorced. Some would say that averages out to normal.
ELAINE: (laughs) Wonderful. Now, I read. Shakespeare, Dickens. A good book is as good as a husband. Better in some respects. You can read a new book every week. You go to bed with it and you wake up with it, but you don't get up with bruises all over your shins.
PLICKINGTON: Ay, there's the rub.
ELAINE: (laughs) Yes. Books are good companions. Unless they are about you.
PLICKINGTON: Again, two to none.
ELAINE: Besides, I'm too old for bruises. At least the black and blue ones.
PLICKINGTON: I hardly think of you as old. I'm 57. I wonder . . .
ELAINE: (raises her hand) My age is in remission.
PLICKINGTON: (laughs) Forgive me.
ELAINE: Old? You know when you're getting old? When staying out all night means you don't get home until 11:30.
PLICKINGTON: (He laughs, rips off a sheet of yellow paper, and hands it to her with the pen.) Then, would it be too brash of me to ask . . .
ELAINE: Of course not. (She autographs it, using her left hand.)
PLICKINGTON: Thank you. When is your next engagement?
ELAINE: No more marriage for me, thank you!
PLICKINGTON: Ahh, if I was to propose?
ELAINE: We can be good friends. It'll be just like marriage, except we won't be having sex. (pause) It'll be just like marriage.


ELAINE: Besides, you might be married to a murderess, Mr. Plickington.
PLICKINGTON: You believe it was a murder, not a suicide?
ELAINE: I'm afraid I can't be of much help to you. I hardly interacted with Jack and David off the stage. I had my own dressing room, and only Bernard has my hotel number. I did my makeup in my hotel room, and returned there immediately after the performances. I'm past the age of after-curtain socializing, Mr. Plickington. (smiles flirtatiously) Besides, I am Elaine Plummer, not Solomon. Salome but not Solomon. What do you think, murder or suicide, Mr. Plickington? (She gets up and walks to the door, then extends her left hand for a final lingering handshake.)
PLICKINGTON: (He gets up with her.) I'm reviewing the situation.
ELAINE: (She goes back to the table and writes on the yellow pad.) There's the number at my hotel. Call me if you need me. For anything. Good-bye.

(They stare at each other and ELAINE exits. PLICKINGTON retreats from the door, turns around to stare at it, and then hurriedly returns to it and opens it to find, standing in front of him, GEORGE.)


full-length murder/comedy

Author: Les Golden
Address: 934 Forest Avenue, Oak Park, Illinois 60302
Phone: (708) 848-6677


The cast members of the murder mystery "Till Death Us Do Part" arrive at their dressing room in the Nouveau Theater. After the performance, Bernard Oliver, a founder of the theater and its current president, presents an after-curtain speech to the audience announcing that Deborah Elwood, the beautiful star of the show, will present a one-woman performance for the theater's next production. In the weeks that follow, Roberta Sorinson, the current show's costume designer, rehearses Deborah for the show, well aware that Deborah and Joseph Sherman, Roberta's sarcastic boyfriend and a bit-part actor, are displaying mutual interest.

The final performance of "Till Death Us Do Part" goes smoothly until the curtain call. The two members of the cast who are murdered in the final scene, Brad Jordan, an independently wealthy benefactor of the theatre, and Jon Jeffreys, his lover, remain on the floor. Thinking at first that this is simply a final-performance prank, the cast is shocked when a doctor in the audience examines them and exclaims, "These actors are dead."

The stage knife and stage gun had been replaced with the real items.

Oliver enlists the service of Harold Plickington, an eccentric private investigator with a seasoned dislike for the police and a seasoned liking for the game of darts. To minimize damage to the theater, Oliver wants Plickington to conclude that the murders were a double suicide or murder-suicide. Meanwhile, Roberta and Arlene Plummer, an older, once distinguished actress now reduced to semi-professional stage roles, prevail upon Oliver to not cancel Deborah's one-woman show.


Deborah Elwood, 23, a beautiful semi-professional actress; plays Pamela Stone in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Jon Jeffreys, 35, a jazz musician and amateur actor; plays Grant Stone in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Brad Jordan, 30, an amateur actor, wealthy retired currency trader, member of the board of directors and former president of Nouveau Theater; plays Basil Stone in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Bernard Oliver, 55, an amateur actor, a founder and current president of Nouveau Theater; director and plays Allan Drake and others in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Frank Murray, 45, an amateur actor and municipal employee; plays James McConkey and Reverend Dring in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Joseph Sherman, 27, an amateur actor, high-spirited furniture restorer and musician; plays Del Rose in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Judith Murray, 16, an amateur actress, daughter of Frank Murray; plays Darlene Baburek and Dana Gilbert in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Roberta Sorinson, 25, an amateur actress, girlfriend of Joseph Sherman; costume and set designer and plays Mary Garaventa and others in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Bert Weaver, 55, hardware store employee, a founder and member of the board of directors of Nouveau Theater; stage manager and property master for "Till Death Us Do Part" (could be cast as a woman, Bertie)

Arlene Plummer, 60, a distinguished professional actress; plays Jeanne Butterfield in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Paul Brady, 50, an amateur actor, member of the board of directors of Nouveau Theater; plays Dr. Carl Johanssen in "Till Death Us Do Part"

Harold Plickington, 57, a private investigator and friend of Dr. Aubrey Meyer

Dr. Aubrey Meyer, 45, a physician and friend of Harold Plickington, authority in the occult (could be cast as a man or a woman)

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