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Terror by Gaslight

Terror by Gaslight
Your Price: $17.95 CDN
Author: Tim Kelly
Publisher: Dramatists Play Service (cover may change)
Format: Softcover
# of Pages: 68
Pub. Date: 1981
Edition: Acting
ISBN-10: 0822211246
ISBN-13: 9780822211242
Cast Size: 6 female, 6 male

About the Play:

Terror by Gaslight is a full-length suspense thriller by Tim Kelly. The main character Dr. Cyrus Norton trains a group of young surgeons while concealing his involvement with unsavoury grave robbers as a persistent police detective comes closer to learning the truth. Filled with suspense and sudden shocks, Terror by Gaslight is a cleverly constructed thriller that will both enthrall and terrify your audience as it traces its macabre tale of body-snatching, explosive jealousies, and murder.

Terror by Gaslight tells the tale of Dr. Cyrus Norton, a brilliant but eccentric surgeon, who is creating an "anatomical museum" of the human body to further his standing as a recognized expert on anatomy and dissection. The action takes place in nineteenth-century Philadelphia, when people were first learning about anatomy and surgery. The problem is that he needs cadavers for teaching purposes, and by law, the only cadavers medical schools could obtain were those from the public gallows. If there were no bad guys being hung, he is forced to deal with the unsavoury Gin Hester and her sinister partner, Scrubbs, two grave robbers and body-snatchers who have little concern about where the corpses might come from. In fact, in their zeal to practice their lucrative trade, the two soon bring suspicion on Dr. Norton and his household: his devoted daughter, who wants to follow in her father's footsteps; his prim and proper sister; and his eager assistant, a promising young doctor who has fallen in love with the daughter. Chills mount as one eerie scene follows another, and the persistent police detective assigned to the case moves nearer to learning the truth about the blackmail and increasingly vicious murders which have been engendered by the doctor's obsession. In the end Dr. Norton himself falls victim to the evil he has unleashed, but, as the curtain falls, we learn that he has not died in vain – his daughter, Marilyn, has donned her father's bloody apron and will carry on his "good work" for the betterment of mankind and the advancement of science.

Terror by Gaslight was first performed in 1979 at Stage 13 in Seattle, under the title The Creeping Fog. It remains a popular choice for school and community theatre productions.

Cast: 6 female, 6 male

About the Playwright:

Tim Kelly (1931-1998) is often regarded as the most-published playwright in America, with over 300 titles to his credit under both his real name and at least four pseudonyms (Vera Morris, J. Moriarty, Robert Swift, Keith Jackson). Many of his plays, like Les Miserables, M*A*S*H and The Uninvited, are adaptations of novels, films. or television series, although he also wrote a host of parodies a well as original scripts and musical libretti. While his plays have been performed off-Broadway and by such companies as the Royal Court Rep, the Manhattan Theatre Club (MTC) and Seattle Rep, he is best known for writing for university, community and school theatre.

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