Arsenic and Old Lace


1. Arsenic and Old Lace
2. The copy I had did not list the author.
3. 66 pages
4. Act 1: Set in late afternoon in the month of September in the present time.
Act 2: Later that same night.
Act 3: Later that night to early the next morning.
5. The main characters include:
Mortimer Brewster, Aunt Abby, Aunt Martha, Elaine, Teddy, Dr. Einstein, Jonathan Brewster, and Officer O'Hara.
6. Personally I liked Teddy the best because he was such a bizarre character. He added a lot of life and personality to this play with his reenactment of different events in Theodore Rosevelts life. His role added an element of unpredictability to the play I thought.
7. If I were cast in this play I would like to play the role of Dr. Einstein because I think it would be a challenging role, however you would be able to have fun with it since they give you the chance to work with a German accent and such. Dr. Einstein just seemed to be a very unique character to try and portray.
8. Mortimer: He didn't even have the sense enough to be scared - to be on guard. For instance, ther muderer invites him to sit down.
Einstein: You mean "Won't you sit down"?
Mortimer: Believe it or not, that was in there too.
Einstein: And What did he do?
Mortimer: He sat down! Mind you - this fellow is supposed to be bright. There he is - all ready to be trussed up. And what do they use to tie him with?
Einstein: What?
Mortimer: The curtain cord
(Jonathan cuts the curtain cord)
9. I think the most challenging part of producing this play would be to find actors talented enough to portray the mix of characters that this play involves, you would need somewhat nutty people, as well as serious and also a bit senile actors, it would be an interested mix.
10. The play starts off as Mortimer visits his aunts and finds a body in the window seat. He is quite startled when his aunts explain that they have been poisoning single men that come to stay at their house, they then have Teddy dig the graves for them in the cellar. While Mortimer goes out for the evening his brother Jonathan unexpectedly shows up and decides that he is going to try and overtake the house. Jonathan has brought a body with him as well. However in the whole ordeal to try and get this body buried Jonathan finds the body his aunt has hidden and Mortimer ends up finding the body that Jonathan has brought with him. After the police come to tell Teddy to quit playing his bugle they see Jonathan and eventually capture him. The police however never do find out about the bodies in the basement. Because Teddy is a tad insane Mortimer has him committed to a mental institute. However his aunts did not agree with this and they wanted to be committed with him. In the end Mortimer finds out that he is actually not a Brewster and thus will not end up going nuts. The play ends with his aunts attempting to put the director of the insane asylum out of his misery as well with their poisoned wine.
11. If I had to look for a message in this play I don't know where I would start. However there is one phrase that came to my mind when I read this play. That phrase is "What they don't know, won't hurt them". This is most evident when Mortimer is trying to cover up the murders that his aunts have committed.
12. Ratings:
Difficulty: 7
Although this play was fairly easy to read it has a tendency to get rather boring in some spots which requires a lot of concentration.
Enjoyment: 7
This was a very humorous play in my eyes, however I think some people my be turned away by the amount of irony that is portrayed in this play.