Don Fried — Playwright & Author

Red Herring

Red Herring was presented at the Theatre Company of Lafayette (Colorado) in June, 2009.

SYNOPSIS

Red Herring Flyer

Although Edwin was a highly successful writer of murder mysteries for the Broadway stage for many years, recently his popularity has dwindled. None of his new work has been produced for 18 years, and he has become increasingly embittered. His luck appears to be changing, though, as a production of a recent play, Red Herring, is about to go into rehearsal. However, everything about the production is wrong. The producer/director is an artsy nouveau-type who is not at all interested in putting on the play which Edwin has written; the leading man is an over-the-hill classical actor who has stage fright and can’t remember any of his lines; and the leading lady is Edwin’s ex-wife, with whom he had an acrimonious divorce.

Edwin shares misgivings with his assistant, Rachel, who is an aspiring young writer of murder mystery plays. When the rehearsals start, Edwin’s worst fears are realized, and in a fit of frustration he begins brow-beating the leading man, who clutches his chest and collapses. Discussing the incident later with Rachel, Edwin realizes that his skills as a writer of murder mysteries provide him the tools he needs to exact revenge on the principals of the production, whom he has come to view as his antagonists. Incidents start happening to the others involved in the production. Furthermore, much of the evidence from these incidents points to Edwin as the guilty party.

Now, instead of using his crime-writing skills to plan dirty tricks, Edwin must use them to solve this new mystery.  Assisted by Rachel, he begins the investigation, and they soon discover that everyone has a motive. In the end, Edwin solves the mystery and it is revealed:– Wait a minute!  I probably shouldn’t post the solution to the mystery.  Come see the play or, if you absolutely can’t stand the suspense, contact me and I’ll tell you whodunit.

2 Responses to "Red Herring"

Hi. I am a high school drama coach. Is your play available and…is it appropriate for High School. (Last year we did, “Sin, Sex and the CIA,” and “Steel Magnolias,” so we can do mature plays.

Yes, “Red Herring” is available. It should be appropriate for high school. There were quite a few younger people in the audience at the recent production in Lafayette, Colorado, and they all seemed to enjoy it a lot.

There are a few words in the play (“bastard,” “asshole”) that may raise some eyebrows — among the parents and administration, probably not among the students. But I’d be happy to edit those out for you if you’d like. I’ll send you an email, and we’ll get in touch to discuss the play.

Thanks for your interest.

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