Not all fun and games

2016-09-20 06:00
Graham Leverton as Detective Joel Stringer and Kerryn Lloyd as Detective Vicky Conway in a scene from The Chessboard Killer.

Graham Leverton as Detective Joel Stringer and Kerryn Lloyd as Detective Vicky Conway in a scene from The Chessboard Killer.

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The Pinelands Players will present a new original play, The Chessboard Killer, written and directed by Graham Leverton, at their intimate Clubhouse Theatre, The Crossing, in Pinelands in October.

The story follows Ron Bingham – a failed screenwriter and senior lecturer at a film school in New York, played by Thomas Bowman. After years of rejection, Ron decides to make the world “watch” as he re-enacts a screenplay that he has written. Inspired by the character in his head, Ron becomes a serial killer. However, he is not the average killer. Each of his victims represents a chess piece. His goal is to complete the set, from pawns, to rooks, to queens and kings – which means 32 victims in total. Achieving this goal would make him the most prolific serial killer in New York history.

Trying to put a stop to the killing spree is Detective Joel Stringer (played by Graham) and Vicky Conway (played by Kerryn Lloyd). Stringer is a veteran homicide detective and leads the investigation of these bizarre and random killings. With the assistance of his partner, Conway, the two try to piece together the puzzle, hoping that they’ll be able to prevent the killer from completing his goal of a complete set. They watch as the killer moves from pawns (the lower classes of society) to rooks, knights and bishops (the middle and upper classes). But the question remains: who are the Kings and Queens?

In the centre of this fast-paced thriller, is Richard Walker (played by Byron Hite), who is an aspiring screenwriter and a student in Ron Bingham’s class. Walker turns to Ron for mentorship, but unbeknownst to him, his mentor is a serial killer and uses Walker as a chess piece in his sick game.

“A lot of consideration has gone into staging my script,” Graham says. “The venue is quite challenging due to its size, so we’ve had to be creative in terms of scene changes and how we portray the intricacies of the scrip.”

He explains that he wrote the script with the intimate venue in mind, leading to some interesting and clever methods of advancing the plot. “This includes voice-overs and some amazing music to set the tone of the play. I’m excited to finally see my script come to life on stage.” V The Chessboard Killer will be on stage on Saturday 1 and Sunday 2 October. Tickets cost R40 at the door. Email pinelandsplayers@gmail.com to book.

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