What’s so funny about murder? A Q&A with ‘Kill Again’s Island’ Playwright Dean Fiala

'This show was written under the influence of a variety of tropical drinks. I remember there are characters inspired by popular culture, and I’m pretty sure there is a murder.'

A Taste for Murder Productions is back at the Kentlands Arts Barn with another delightful mystery: Kill Again’s Island. The production company specializes in homespun mysteries that are acted out while the audience enjoys a buffet of sweet treats: Guessing whodunit… with a cherry on top.

We recently met up with Kill Again’s Island Playwright Dean Fiala to ask some questions about Kill Again’s Island and his work creating mysteries for A Taste for Murder Productions.

Tell us about yourself.

Playwright Dean Fiala

That’s not technically a question, but I’ll play along. After stints in and around Chicago, Boston, and San Francisco, I’ve lived in Rockville for the last 19 years with my supportive wife, two (mostly) adorable children, and a varying number of cats. I write software to support my theater habit. I’ve been heavily involved with Rockville Little Theatre for the past decade and attempt to knock out a script once or twice a year. This year, Negotiable Virtue was recognized with the “Up and Coming Playwright” award by the Maryland Community Theater Festival Association, which I still find bemusing given the first digit in my age.

You have written several comedies about murders so… what’s so funny about murder?

Here’s the funny thing about writing plays for a theater company that performs murder mysteries — turns out every play needs to be about murder. My first attempt, A Wedding to Die For, was originally a heartfelt drama about a young woman trying to plan the perfect wedding. After I submitted the script, Laura Andruski, the artistic director for ATFM, responded: “Someone needs to die or this will never see the stage.” I took the hint, stirred in a murder, and we had something.

What inspired you to write Kill Again’s Island?

Again, Laura was the inspiration. One day while we were sipping handcrafted Bahama Mamas, she said to me, “I have a couple of tropical backdrops. Do you think you could write a script that features an island — I need to use these d@#n things. And don’t forget— there needs to be a murder.” I obviously agreed because here we are.

What should audiences expect from the show?

I know it’s cliché — but they should expect the unexpected. This show was written under the influence of a variety of tropical drinks. I remember there are characters inspired by popular culture and literature, and I’m pretty sure there is a murder or ATFM wouldn’t have produced it.

Anything else you want to share?

If you’re a fan of dessert theater or even just dessert — Murder at the Mansion is the can’t-miss event of the summer. Why see another warmed-over franchise movie offering accompanied by overpriced popcorn when you enjoy live theater and a roomful of tasty treats?

The cast of “Kill Again’s Island” Back row (left to right): Avery Morstan, Cassandra Redding, Jessie Dugan (peeking out from surfboard), Erin Kellman, Tracy Husted. Front row (in red shirt) Jordan Clifford, (in white shirt) Noah Steurer. Photo by L.W. Andruski

Kill Again’s Island plays Friday, July 15, 2022, at 8:00 pm (sold out) and Saturday, July 16, at 2:00 pm and 8:00 pm the Kentlands Arts Barn – 320 Kent Square Road, in Gaithersburg, MD. For tickets ($35 single, $60 pair), call the box office at (301) 258-6425 or go online.

COVID Safety: Masks are recommended but not required.

Recommended for ages 15 and up. Guests will enjoy a fun evening with a buffet of sweet treats. A cash bar will be available for those 21 and older. Photo ID required for alcohol sales. Attendees are invited to dress in island attire for a chance to win a prize.


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