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An Act of the Imagination

An Act of the Imagination
Your Price: $16.95 CDN
Author: Bernard Slade
Publisher: Samuel French, Inc.
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 93
Pub. Date: 1988
ISBN-10: 0573670234
ISBN-13: 9780573670237
Cast Size: 4 women, 3 men

About the Play:

An Act of the Imagination is a full-length comedic mystery thriller by Bernard Slade. This gripping British style who-dun-it play centres a successful mystery novelist who has written a manuscript that is not of his usual genre. Once he gets his wife's approval of the adulterous romance novel, things begin to happen. While keeping audiences on the edge of their seats, the mystery also asks how much we really know about those who are closest to us, and what can we do when we discover they are not who we think they are?

An Act of the Imagination is set in the 1960s, in the era before cell phones and GPS. The ingenious plot zeroes in on the well-known mystery writer Arthur Putnam, who has created his first romance novel after 27 whodunits – a vivid and adulterous romance about a man his age who has an affair with a young woman. His son from an earlier marriage, his beautiful and charming second wife, Julia, and his editor marvel at the truthfulness of the work, remarkable since it is inconceivable that he could ever have had such an affair. Their puzzlement takes a darker turn when out of the blue a young woman, who is intent on blackmail, arrives on the Putnams' doorstep with a tale of an adulterous affair with Arthur that precisely mirrors the story in his new book. Death stalks: the other woman is killed and evidence incriminates Arthur in her murder. There is a conspiracy to do Arthur in, a conspiracy that entails cunning, deceit and ingenious plotting. If you like an Agatha Christie mystery, this is a terrific thriller with lots of surprises. If you like a drama with depth, you will love this Canadian masterpiece.

An Act of the Imagination premiered in 1987 under the title Sweet William at the Yvonne Arnaud Theatre in Guildford, Surrey, England, and has been a staple of community theatres and regional repertory houses since then.

Cast: 4 women, 3 men

What people say:

"It's laced liberally with enough delicious double-crossings and whodunit hot-sauce to make even the veteran murder-mystery lover drool with delight." — Times Colonist

"Highly entertaining." — The Herald

"A sophisticated whodunit which manages to keep the audience on tender hooks until the end." — The Advertiser

"Fans of theatrical whodunits ... a little known gem which offers plenty of twists and turns designed to confound even the biggest mystery buff. It’s An Act of The Imagination, a 1987 mystery by Bernard Slade. Though often produced at regional theaters, the play never had a major run in New York. That makes it ideal fare for amateur sleuths who want to see a production that will leave them guessing till the end." — Sag Harbor Express

"A stylish and clever work, An Act of the Imagination is entertaining with its rich dialogue and character dynamics. This show is a whodunit with a series of plot twists that will keep one guessing until the end." — DC Metro Theater Arts

About the Playwright:

Bernard Slade Newbound (1930-2019), known professionally as Bernard Slade, was a Canadian playwright and long-time Hollywood TV-sitcom writer. He began his career as an actor performing in over 200 plays on stage, radio and television in regional theatres around Toronto and on camera for the CBC. He moved to Hollywood in the mid-1960s, and was soon writing episodes of such classics-to-be as Bewitched. Credited as creator, writer, story editor and producer of eight series, including The Flying Nun and The Partridge Family, he was considered one of the true heavyweights in Hollywood. By the mid-1970s, he turned his comedic genius to the stage writing more than a dozen plays, including three Broadway hit shows like his phenomenally successful Same Time Next Year, Tribute and Romantic Comedy, which were all turned into Hollywood features.

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