How could a box of cornflakes almost start a world war? Writing an ad campaign for Hampton’s Medicated Cornflakes is tough, especially when you have to get paid immediately to not get evicted! That’s what faces Rosie, Max, and Sid, who hit upon the idea of quarantining their own office to keep out their demanding landlady. But when a man stumbles in, stabbed in the back, it’s a whole new ballgame. Now, nobody can leave since it’s become the scene of a crime. More police show up along with a legal secretary, a Russian travel agent, a handsome doctor, and worst of all, Rosie’s mother! Just when it becomes clear that the dead guy is Butch Crenshaw, a notorious bookie, the F.B.I. arrives, claiming the deceased is really Nick Mandalay, extortionist. Not so, explains the secretary to the Russian Ambassador, stating the victim is one Vladimir Kouskowski. Now the U.N. is involved! Could this incident heat up the cold war?! This fast-paced farce set in the 1950s is full of lies and alibis. And the one thing that no one can figure out is just what the victim meant when he whispered into Rosie’s ear, “Quirk of Fate.”
Playwright Pat Cook Talks About His Play
QUIRK OF FATE
Q: WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO WRITE THIS PLAY?
A: I had been on YouTube and ran across a lot of ‘50s TV ads. It tickled me to see and remember a lot of those. Also, it got me to thinking what the ad men and women must've been like in those days. And that started off the plot.
Q: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE PART OF THE PLAY? WHY?
A: Probably when the guys are trying to come up with a suitably fatal and yet vague illness to fool the doctor so he will quarantine the office. I think I used some of those excuses when I was younger myself when phoning in a boss, saying I wouldn't be in for work.
Q: WHERE DID THE CHARACTERS COME FROM?
A: I believe the characters were inspired by the types penned by Kaufman and Hart (always in inspiration for me). Also, I have always been a huge fan of Hecht and MacArthur's "The Front Page," so that's always lurking in the back of my mind. (The original, by the way, was directed by George S. Kaufman.)
Q: WHAT DID YOU TRY TO ACHIEVE WITH THIS PLAY?
A: No real point or moral that I can think of. However, I DID want to show some of the paranoia - who is watching who - that was rampant in the '50s.
Q: DO YOU HAVE ANYTHING ELSE YOU'D LIKE TO ADD?
A: Just that I hope it's a fun show to do and see. I had great fun writing it and I hope this translates across the footlights -- do they still say “footlights”? I am SO behind the times! Do they still say “behind the times”?