Full Length Play
120 minutes (2 hours)
Time Period - Contemporary, Present Day, New Millennium/21st Century
Settings Of Play - There are two "sets" on stage throughout the play: the main room of Dennis Kadman's NYC apartment, where his brother Michael is housed, during the flashback scenes, and the police station office of Lt. Rodriguez. Both can be elaborately represented -- or minimally represented, with actions like opening a window conveyed through mime. In Act One, lights come up and down on the two spaces, for different scenes. In Act Two, Dennis at times moves from one space to the other while both are lit. There is one scene in which Dennis and Julie take a walk along a city street -- which can simply be the front portion of the stage.
FEATURES / CONTAINS
Unit Set/Multiple Settings
Contemporary Costumes / Street Clothes
Alcohol, Drugs, Strong Language, Mild Adult Themes
Adult, Teen (Age 14 - 18)
College Theatre / Student, Community Theatre, Professional Theatre, Reader's Theatre, Shoestring Budget, Blackbox / Second Stage /Fringe Groups
Nominee! 2009 Edgar Award for Best Play
Cell is a murder mystery - to about the same extent that Sophocles' Oedipus Rex is a murder mystery. It is not a dinner theater kind of cozy murder mystery; it is a drama, with some humor, about brothers, one a Gen Xer and one a Baby Boomer, and the whodunit aspect is part of the painful war of wills and the cat and mouse game between them. Lieutenant Rodriguez questions Dennis Kadman about his older brother Michael, who has OD'd on heroin in Dennis' apartment. Dennis wants to know: who gave Michael the drugs? Michael was a cunning, manipulative addict. But he was placed in his brother's care by the courts – and Dennis tried to keep him alive and drug-free. Through flashbacks, we see the fractious relationship between the brothers, and how they interacted with other "suspects," including Edith, the Jamaican nurse who believed Michael should be allowed to choose to die; Julie, Dennis' fiancée who hated what Michael was doing to Dennis and to their relationship; and Byron, Michael's homeless friend with whom he had lived on the streets. Like Oedipus, while looking for the culprit, Dennis learns far too much about himself.
"These days, when far too many authors of mystery and suspense give us cardboard characters in contrived situations and avoid anything with a social conscience, Judy Klass's Cell gives us believable dialogue about two brothers who are struggling with their own shortcomings and the social injustices that surround them–characters who live and breathe, needle and provoke, and who truly get under your skin. –Kenneth Wishnia, Judge, Best Play 2009 Edgar Allan Poe Awards, Edgar-nominated author of The Fifth Servant
"Cell by Judy Klass is so much more than a taut mystery play. It is both reminiscent of Agatha Christie's whodunits and Gabriel Garcia Marquez's use of magical realism to capture characters, time, and place. Ms. Klass tells us at the play's beginning that her main character, Michael, has been murdered. Her taut and spellbinding play keeps its audience at the edge of their seats, guessing, waiting for the explosive ending." –Woodie King Jr., Producing Director, New Federal Theatre
"Cell is the best new play I have presented since the Mystery Festival began. It is also very 'produceable' with great leading roles, small cast and a simple set – a producer's dream!" –Zev Buffman, President and CEO of RiverPark Center, creator of the International Mystery Writers' Festival
CELL premiered in the International Mystery Writers' Festival in Owensboro, Kentucky in June of 2008. The production was directed by Kelley Elder.