The murder mystery is among the most sought after genres in entertainment. The deluge of such series and films on OTT platforms proves its popularity. When many riveting stories are visualised into a film or a web series with high production values, would someone be keen on watching a murder mystery on stage?
Mahesh SP, the director and co-playwright of Skewed, a murder mystery by Fourth Wall Theatre, gives two reasons why someone will come to watch it: “Realistic performances and relatable text.”
“The conversations in the play reflect those we often encounter in our surroundings — be it the chatter echoing at a station, the discourse unfolding in the media, or even the dialogues among the public. We did not want to make this a regular murder mystery,” adds Mahesh.
Vilok V Kowsik, one of the co-writers of the play, prefers to call it a ‘socio-mystery’. The story revolves around Divya, a free-thinking writer who moves to Madikeri with her police officer husband. When her husband dies under mysterious circumstances, Divya is accused of his murder and faces scepticism from her former friends and acquaintances. The narrative thoughtfully explores the complex interplay between belief and scepticism, deftly portraying the myriad challenges that modern women confront daily. Amidst the investigation, the play explores Divya’s relationships, her accused status, and the anonymous stalker sending her letters.
The seed of Skewed came from Lamb to the Slaughter, a short story by Roald Dahl, which also has a wife, who is suspected of murdering her husband.
Fourth Wall’s team initially conceived Skewed as a typical murder mystery. But the makers chose to break away from the usual murder-case escalation, opting for changes that offer a fresh take.
“After a few discussions, we wanted to focus on the human relationships and intricate character layers, eschewing gimmicks and twists. The play delves into authentic interactions and portrays the subject with realism,” says Vilok.
The play, which premiered last December, has been staged six times — five of them getting a full house, according to Vilok. The play is written by Arvindh S Kumar and Gayathri Narayan apart from Mahesh and Vilok. It features Abhimanyu Bhupathi’s music and Vidya Pathikonda’s poetry. Soumya Pujari is the choreographer.
The play will be staged at Jagriti Theatre, Whitefield, on August 27. Tickets on bookmyshow.com