He Who Finds Mercy series

Friday, November 15, 2013

Fun Friday: Who Killed Agatha Christie?

Several years ago I tried something with my creative writing class. I asked each of the 13 students to pick their favorite character from a book, movie, or television show and using lines of actual dialogue, I wrote a crazy "play" which they "performed" using the voices of their chosen characters. This was to show the power of "voice" in creating characters, and we had so much fun with it, I later did the same thing for two other writing classes. Teachers, feel free to use this idea or this actual "play" with your own classes.



Who Killed Agatha Christie?
by Katy Jones

Cast of Characters

Sherlock Holmes
David Starsky
Al Giordino
Margaret Hale 
Elizabeth Bennett 
Inigo Montoya
Chewbacca 
Cosmo Brown 
Eragon
Jack Sparrow 
Sponge Bob 
Anne Shirley
Gomer Pyle



Setting: Scotland Yard on a cold and creepy night. Sherlock Holmes is by himself, pacing.

HOLMES: I say, where is that replacement I was promised? I need him now.

STARSKY: (Enters) Sherlock Holmes?

HOLMES: Yes?

STARSKY: I
'm David Starsky. I was sent to replace Watson. Temporary duty. (They shake hands.)

HOLMES: Yes. You are just in time to help me solve a most grisly murder.

STARSKY: Who
's the victim?

HOLMES: Agatha Christie.

STARSKY: Agatha Christie, the writer?

HOLMES: The very one. And we have quite a parade of both suspects and witnesses.

STARSKY: A parade, did you say?

HOLMES: Not a literal one, Mr. Starsky.

STARSKY: No, I
'd say it's a literary one. Get it? Since Ms. Christie was a writer?

HOLMES: There is no time to have pun here. We must get down to business. Ah, here come the usual suspects and a few unusual witnesses.

(Enter Margaret Hale, Elizabeth Bennett, Anne Shirley, Inigo Montoya, Jack Sparrow, Al Giordino, Gomer Pyle, Cosmo Brown, Eragon, Chewbacca, and Sponge Bob.)

STARSKY: I see what you mean.

HOLMES: We will waste no time with preliminaries. (Nods his head at the women.) I hope you ladies will forgive the discomfort this may cause your sensibilities.

ELIZABETH: You do err, sir, if you think that my companions and I should be frightened or dismayed.

MARGARET: I agree with Miss Bennet. Only those who are guilty have the need to fear these proceedings.

ANNE: Yes! Let us discover the truth no matter how much it hurts.

HOLMES: If there is no further delay, let me lay the facts before you: That venerable writer of mysteries, Miss Agatha Christie, was most cruelly murdered this very morning by one standing here before us. It has been determined that the murder weapon was the pen with which Miss Christie had been writing her latest novel. The murderer replaced the ink with a substance so poisonous that the victim had merely to touch the pen to her lips, whereupon she expired within moments.

ANNE: Oh, what a terrible tragedy! To die as if she were a tragic heroine in a book. It
's so tragic!

MARGARET: And you believe, Mr. Holmes, that one of us present did the deed?

GOMER: Well, whoever it is, I say, shame, shame, shame!

HOLMES: To answer your question, Miss Hale: Yes, not only is one of you guilty of the crime, but one was a witness to the crime who did not prevent it, and is thereby as guilty as the murderer.

INIGO: Excuse me. I do not mean to pry. But do you by chance have six fingers on your right hand?

HOLMES: That is entirely beside the point. I will ask, and you will answer the questions. Starsky, bring forward the first suspect.

STARSKY: Since you
're the youngest one present, Miss Shirley, we'll begin with you so you can go home. It's probably past your bedtime.

ANNE: (Sniffing and fighting back tears) Yes, it is, and Matthew and Marilla will be frantic, wondering where I am.

GOMER: Well, bless her little heart.

HOLMES: Silence, if you please, Mr. Pyle. Miss Shirley, where were you at the hour of nine this morning?

ANNE: (Tears forgotten) Oh, that
's easy! I was dreaming about being a tragic heroine, like Elaine or Juliet. But whenever I start thinking about that, I think about Gilbert Blythe, and he makes it hard to keep thinking about being a tragic heroine, especially since I've sworn never to speak to him again.

STARSKY: I think you should just stick with answering the questions, Miss.

ANNE: I
'm fearful sorry, sir. I didn't mean to run on and on and.....

HOLMES: (Interrupting) Where were you doing this daydreaming, Miss Shirley?

ANNE: That
's even easier! I was walking around the gardens on Miss Christie's estate. She has wonderful gardens. The flowers are so beautiful, and you should see the butterflies flitting here and there! I never saw a lovelier sight, other than Green Gables, that is.

STARSKY: So you weren
't inside the house during that time?

ANNE: Oh, no, sir. I went outside right after breakfast and lost track of the hours. I didn
't return until I realized I was getting hungry again and I noticed it was after noon.

STARSKY: (Looking at Holmes) Well? Can the girl go home now?

HOLMES: No more questions. You
'd best run along to your parents, Miss Shirley.

ANNE: I have no parents, sir. I
'm an orphan. But Matthew and Marilla are better than any parents could be. See, they wanted a boy, but I was sent, and I'm not a boy. At first Marilla wanted to send me back for a boy, but Matthew liked me so well that....

HOLMES: Thank you, Miss Shirley. That will be all. (She exits) Next suspect, if you please.

STARSKY: Which one of you is Al Giordino?

GIORDINO: (Holds out hand) Hi! How are ya?

STARSKY: (Not shaking it) My state of well being is not the issue here.

GIORDINO: I don
't wanna rain on your crazy parade, buddy, but I don't think you're gonna find a suspect here.

HOLMES: What do you mean by that?

GIORDINO: Well, look at all these people and, uh, creatures. How could any of them murder a writer with a poisoned pen? There
's no way that should've worked!

HOLMES: Should have worked? Are you suggesting that you had prior knowledge of the poisoned pen?

GIORDINO: I am so tired of being accused of things I couldn
't have done!

HOLMES: Couldn
't have done? Not "didn't," is it?

STARSKY: Sounds like it could be a guilt complex.

GIORDINO: Hey! We have a big problem here
--the murder of a distinguished writer--and you're picking apart the little things, my words.

HOLMES: The little things are infinitely the most important.

GIORDINO: Look, buddy, I have always been a great admirer of Miss Christie. There
's no way I would have, could have, wanted to, or otherwise even considered doing her harm. Can I go now?

STARSKY: No. We
're not finished with you yet. But we will ask Jack Sparrow to step forward.

SPARROW: Captain. Captain Jack Sparrow.

HOLMES: You are undoubtedly the worst pirate I
've ever heard of.

SPARROW: But you have heard of me.

HOLMES: But the very fact that you are a pirate and in league with questionable characters, any of whom would have the means to poison a pen, makes you a prime suspect in this case.

SPARROW: Well, governor, if I really did want to poison a lady, I hope I would have more imagination than to poison her pen. Now a poisoned key, or a poisoned corset
--those have possibilities, eh, love? (Smiles at Elizabeth and Margaret)

ELIZABETH: You, sir, are despicable. I do not welcome your attentions.

MARGARET: You have neither couth nor sense, Mr. Sparrow.

SPARROW: Captain, love. Captain Sparrow. And I may not have couth or sense, but I do know a lovely lady when I see one.

STARSKY: That
's enough, Sparrow.

HOLMES: Sparrow, your pistol was found to have only one shot, your sword was rusted beyond repair, and your ring
's secret compartment was empty, with traces of an unknown powder. How do you account for this unknown substance?

SPARROW: Well, if you must know, it was lemon Kool-aid. I don
't like the taste of plain water, so I mix it in my flask. If you hadn't confiscated it, I could show you.

INIGO: (To Sparrow) Excuse me, but do you happen to have six fingers on your right hand?

STARSKY: This questioning is going nowhere. We
'll get back to you, Sparrow. Cosmo Brown, which one are you?

COSMO: Here, present, and presently accounted for.

HOLMES: Please state your legal name, not your stage name.

COSMO: Cosmo Brown.

STARKSY: That can
't be for real.

COSMO: Blame my parents, then. My Dad wanted to name me George, but Mother wanted my name to be Cosmopolitan. They compromised with Cosmo. Dad figured it sounded a lot funnier than plain ole George.

HOLMES: The point of this questioning is not your name, but rather your frame of mind this morning. Do you deny that you were in a state of rage?

COSMO: Nay, good sir, I was in a stage of rate. Second rate, that is. Thanks to Lena Lamont, I
've been consigned to be a background piano player forever. Even my old buddy, Don Lockwood, couldn't get me a real part if his life depended on it. That blasted Lena! She can't sing, dance, or act, but just because I can, she's determined to see me ruined.

STARSKY: You sound pretty upset, Mr. Brown.

COSMO: Oh, no! And even if I were upset, it would be at Lena Lamont, not Agatha Christie. I never read one of her books, by the way. I prefer humorous ones. That
's because I've always loved to make 'em laugh! (Sings) Make 'em laugh, make 'em laugh. Don'tcha know, all the world loves to laugh?

HOLMES: That will be all, Mr. Brown.

STARSKY: Gomer Pyle, PFC, step forward.

GOMER: (Saluting) Yes, sir.

STARSKY: At ease.

HOLMES: Mr. Pyle, or should I say, Private?

GOMER: Well, howdy, howdy, howdy!

HOLMES: What do you know about the murder of Miss Christie? Is it possible that the U.S. Marines are trained in poison manufacture?

GOMER: Shazam! The only poison I ever saw was the rat poison we used back home when the rats were just fierce at the fillin
' station. I always hated to hurt the little fellers.

HOLMES: Were you in possession of said toxic substance earlier today?

GOMER: Huh?

STARSKY: Did you have any rat poison this morning?

GOMER: Of course not! Shame, shame, shame! I couldn
't hurt a nice lady like Miss Christie.

STARSKY: I suppose not. No further questions. Eragon, step forward.

ERAGON: I have nothing to hide.

STARSKY: We
'll see about that.

HOLMES: Mr. Eragon, is it not true that you have access to multiple sources of magic from multiple beings, any of whom could be prevailed upon to conjour subtle toxic substances?

ERAGON: I beg your pardon?

STARSKY: Don
't you have friends who could make up poisons for you?

ERAGON: Well, certainly, doesn
't everyone? It doesn't mean I would have reason to murder a harmless old woman, does it?

HOLMES: Did you not feel that your dragon was in some danger from Miss Christie?

ERAGON: Oh, no, sir. Saphira is perfectly capable of defending herself, especially from an elderly writer. She
's used to a writer who is much, much younger.

HOLMES: Perhaps it is the dragon we should be questioning.

ERAGON: I wouldn
't recommend it, sir. Saphira has a mind of her own.

HOLMES: An uncertain temperament, is it? Well, we wouldn
't want to tempt fate. I understand that you can communicate with her. Can you possibly speak to that--thing, as well? (Points to Chewbacca)

ERAGON: You mean that big hairy walking carpet?

CHEWIE: Arrrrrrrgghhh.

ERAGON: I think he wants you to remove the handcuffs.

STARSKY: Chewbacca can stay where he is, confined and cuffed. He doesn
't need to come closer.

HOLMES: Mr. Chewbacca, you have a long history of losing your temper, as well as the unfortunate habit of ripping people
's arms out of their sockets when you lose to them in games of chance. Do you deny this?

CHEWIE: Arrgh, rowh, rowh, arrgh.

ERAGON: He says he does not deny it. His speech is not as elegant as Saphira
's, of course, but mostly understandable.

HOLMES: In your smuggling adventures with Han Solo, you have also encountered many beings throughout the galaxy more than capable of concocting a swift-acting, deadly poison. Is that not so?

CHEWIE: Arrgh, rowh, rowh, arrgh.

ERAGON: He does not deny that, either.

CHEWIE: Arrggghhhh, rowf rowh rar rowf.

ERAGON: But he adds that he has never had a need to poison anyone.

CHEWIE: Arwgh, rowh, arrgh rowf.

ERAGON: Ripping off arms helps him regain control of his temper better than poison could.

STARSKY: We will NOT be releasing Chewbacca from custody at this time. Inigo Montoya, step forward.

INIGO: Excuse me, but may I see your right hand? Does it happen to have six fingers?

STARSKY: Will you stop it with the six fingers bit? No one here has six fingers.

INIGO: Then I must keep searching.

GOMER: What for?

INIGO: The man who slaughtered my father. I have been searching for him these twenty years. And when I find him, I will go up to him and say,
"Hello. My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die."

MARGARET: You should rather find it in your heart to forgive him than to seek revenge yourself.

ELIZABETH: Yes, let these two gentlemen bring the full force of the law down upon that wicked man.

MARGARET: Otherwise you will become as lawless as he was and suffer grievously in this life as well as the next.

ELIZABETH: It would grieve me exceedingly were you to hang for a murderer. You seem a decent fellow.

SPARROW: He
's not as charming as he appears, love. And not nearly so interesting as I am.

HOLMES: Silence, all of you. Senor Montoya, are you acquainted with the Dread Pirate Roberts?

SPARROW: My cousin. On my mother
's side.

ELIZABETH: Hush!

INIGO: That is the man in black. The one who bested me with the sword, Fezzik with his strength, and Vizzini with his brains.

HOLMES: And how did he dispatch Vizzini?

INIGO: Witha some kind of poison.

GOMER: Shazam!

HOLMES: It was not just any poison, but iocaine powder
--tasteless, colorless, odorless, and dissolves instantly in liquid.

STARSKY: And very fast-acting.

INIGO: Let me
'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up. I wasa not present when the man in black gave Vizzini the poison. I have never seen this iocaine powder.

MARGARET: (To Elizabeth) That is still very incriminating, is it not, Miss Bennet?

ELIZABETH: Tolerably so, Miss Hale. Pity, though.

STARSKY: Ladies, please! We just have one more suspect. Sponge Bob Squarepants, I assume that is you?

SPONGE BOB: I
'm ready!

HOLMES: Mr. Squarepants, where were you at the hour of nine this morning?

SPONGE BOB: Jellyfish Fields.

HOLMES: And what were you doing?

SPONGE BOB: Jelly fishing.

HOLMES: Were you alone?

SPONGE BOB: Oh, no. My best friend, Patrick, was there.

HOLMES: Patrick?

STARSKY: He
's a pink starfish.

SPARROW: Are you sure he
's not one of Davy Jones' dastardly crew?

SPONGE BOB: No.

STARSKY: No, you
're sure, or no, you don't know?

SPONGE BOB: Well, I
--

HOLMES: I have solved the case.

STARSKY: How?

HOLMES: Elementary, my dear Starsky. When you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains, however improbable, must be the truth. Sponge Bob Squarepants, assisted by Patrick the Starfish, is the murderer.

GOMER: Well, surprise, surprise, surprise!

SPONGE BOB: No! It wasn
't me!

HOLMES: The motive is obvious. Jealously of Miss Christie
's popular books and characters coupled with your declining ratings drove you to murder your rival.

SPONGE BOB: No! It wasn
't me!

HOLMES: The method was only slightly less obvious. You and Patrick learned how to extract poison from the deadly blue octopus. You tried cooking it into one of your Krabby Patties, but the poison lost potency once it was heated. So you dipped the tip of Miss Christie
's pen in the poison, hoping she might ingest some of it.

STARSKY: Ingenious.

GOMER: Shazam!

GIORDINO: There
's no way that should've worked!

MARGARET: Capital deduction, Mr. Holmes.

ELIZABETH: Truly you have a dizzying intellect.

CHEWBACCA: Growwwrrhhhh.

ERAGON: Yes, Chewie, that means you are definitely innocent.

CHEWBACCA: Grumph, arwrgh growlllll?

ERAGON: Of course you may meet my dragon! Saphira would be pleased to see you.

SPARROW: Mr. Starsky, my effects, please.

STARSKY: What?

SPARROW: And my hat.

HOLMES: We have no reason to hold him.

STARSKY: What about the others?

HOLMES: They are all free to go. Except Mr. Squarepants, of course. Lock him up. And then find Patrick the Starfish.

STARSKY: All right, everybody. Break it up! Go home! (All exit)

HOLMES: This case has, in some respects, not been entirely devoid of interest.

3 comments:

  1. This is a test. This is only a test to see if I can post a comment, since others haven't been able to. In the event of an actual comment, please disregard this one. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. This is an actual comment. But I seem to be unable to identify myself...

    That play is a hoot! I wish I could've seen the kids perform it. "Shazam!"

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, mystery person! I'm not sure what's going on with the comments. I tried to "loosen" the security settings, but maybe I unleashed the wrong thingamabob. I wish you could have seen the kids, too. They were great! :)

      Delete