High school outsiders Agatha, Sebastian, Claire, and Ryder have bonded as the After-School Detectives devoted to solving crimes and misdemeanors at Yankum High School. Trouble is, they don’t get the slightest bit of recognition even though they’ve found lost lab animals, returned extorted lunch money, and stopped a blackmail plot. Head detective Agatha (named after her mom’s favorite author) figures if they could just get one Big Case, they’d make a name for themselves. It doesn’t take long! When someone breaks into janitor Willy’s office and steals petty cash, school resource officer Cleo Killingsworth is on the case. She immediately points her taser at the After-School Detectives because Wyatt and girlfriend Frankie say they saw the kids sneaking out of Willy’s office just before the money disappeared. Principal Rathburn, aka Heartburn, is too taken with State Department of Education expert Caleb Craven to concern herself with such matters. So it’s up to the After-School Detectives to get to work and clear their names. Clues lead the kids on a very twisted path that involves romance, kidnapping, and stolen art with a heavy dose of crazy adults constantly complicating every step the detectives take—not to mention bullies Wyatt and Frankie popping up like spies ready to scuttle any success the After-School Detectives might enjoy. The action becomes fast and furious as a flurry of text messages tricks the villainous culprit, secures the petty cash, frees three kidnap victims, and recovers millions of dollars in stolen art. Now that’s a Big Case!
PLAYWRIGHT CRAIG SODARO TALKS ABOUT HIS PLAY
AFTER SCHOOL DETECTIVES
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I remember the old Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries and how much kids enjoyed them. The crimes were never horribly serious, but there was just enough suspense to keep a young reader turning the page. I wanted to develop a mystery for a younger audience along the same lines—fun, light, and suspenseful.
Q: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE PART OR LINE IN THE PLAY? WHY?
A: One of my favorite parts in the play comes when Ryder unknowingly breaks the case. He seems to have virtually no confidence, but he manages to come up with plenty of clues.
Q: WHERE DO THE CHARACTERS COME FROM? ARE THEY BASED ON PEOPLE YOU KNOW?
A: I had most of these characters in my classes when I taught middle school. I could give you names, but we do want to protect the innocent!
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE IN THIS PLAY?
A: I want the cast to have a great time putting the play together, particularly interpreting their characters as they see them. I also hope the audiences really enjoy the show and feel that kids really are all right these days!
Q: ANYTHING ELSE YOU’D LIKE TO SAY?
A: Break a leg!