Pavel Kohout

Cast: 5 women, 6 men

Although it has an undercurrent of political allegory- not surprising in view of the fact that the author is a Czech- Poor Murderer is not primarily a "political" play in any traditional sense, though it does contain such lines as "You can't drown humiliation. You can only pay it back." "With what?" "With revenge." It is set in the "great hail of the St. Elizabeth Institute for Nervous Disorders" in St. Petersburg, Russia. The time is 1905 and an actor who has been playing Hamlet imagines he has actually killed Polonius, who has in real life married the woman the actor loves. Is he imagining it? Has he perhaps really committed the crime? If he can prove he is insane, he will escape punishment. And so he sets about doing so through a form of psychodrama, with its flashbacks to the events leading up to the supposed crime. Within its almost Pirandello-like framework, this leads to some surprising, results.

  The play is available in Czech original.