Mysterious Circumstances

by Michael Mitnick
Originally produced at Geffen Playhouse, Los Angeles, CA
June 11, 2019 to July 14, 2019


About the Premiere Production:

Synopsis: Based on a true story, Richard Lancelyn Green, the world's foremost scholar on Sherlock Holmes and Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, is found dead in his London apartment. With multiple suspects and competing motives, Green's death raises questions that may be answered only by Holmes himself. Inspired by The New Yorker article by David Grann (The Lost City of Z, Killers of the Flower Moon), this world premiere play by Michael Mitnick (Drama Desk Award nominee for Fly By Night, The Siegel) is an ode to literature's most cerebral detective and a meditation on the line between love and obsession.

Artistic Statement: The perennial obsession with Sherlock Holmes and Arthur Conan Doyle is such that purely due to its subject matter this play will resonate for years to come. More importantly though, Michael Mitnick’s examination of the nature of obsession takes this play beyond the Sherlock fanaticism into a more universal dissection of the fine line between a pursuit of one’s passions and a life overtaken by them.

This production will operate with a high theatricality that, given the production standards we think are necessary in order to best serve each play in its world premiere, can only be achieved with a significantly higher budget than our norm. As this is a Sherlock Holmes story, it includes that which we expect from our Holmes fiction—a lightning quick, almost mathematical rhythm, innumerable suspects and allies alike, and a true sense of mystery and the fantastic—with a theatrical twist. Similarly, making a cast of six feel like a cast of twenty technically necessitates a very fast pace and will require a design that incorporates illusion to make these theatrical “tricks” flawless and believable. Particularly expensive elements for this show include scenic design and an effects designer to work in tandem to create the magic in the show, video projections, and a large number of costumes spanning from period 1800s to the current day.

Grant Statement: This grant will support an additional two weeks of rehearsals for this world premiere.

Director:Matt Shakman


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