Arsenic and Old Lace book. Read reviews from the world's largest community for readers. Arsenic and Old Lace is a play by American playwright Joseph Kesselring, written in Find sources: "Arsenic and Old Lace" play – news · newspapers · books · scholar · JSTOR (December ) (Learn how and when to remove this. We meet the charming and innocent ladies who populate their cellar with the remains of socially and religiously "acceptable" roomers; the antics of their nephew.

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Arsenic And Old Lace Book

Arsenic and Old Lace: A Comedy. Front Cover. Joseph Kesselring. Random House, - Drama - pages. 0 Reviews. From inside the book. The Barter Theatre of Virginia, Abingdon, Virginia, Robert Porterfield founder and director presents "Arsenic and Old Lace," by Joseph Kesselring, staged by. Arsenic and Old Lace [Joseph Kesselring] on Story time just got better with Prime Book Box, a subscription that delivers editorially hand-picked.

This study guide contains the following sections: The sisters are kind and well-loved by their neighbors. Early in Act One another nephew — Mortimer Brewster, who is a theater critic — visits his aunts, as he does almost daily, and proposes to his long time girlfriend Elaine, who lives with her father in the house next door. After Elaine goes home to tell her father of her engagement, Mortimer starts looking for some papers he left there earlier and eventually looks in the window seat — where he finds the dead body of an elderly gentleman, Mr. When asked why, the sisters tell Mortimer that the men were lonely and miserable, and they were doing them a kindness. When he is unable to do so, he heads out to the theater alone, after making Abby and Martha promise not to let anyone in the house, and not to have Teddy bury the body until he gets back. A short time after he leaves a knock comes at the front door and even though Abby and Martha pretend they are not home, two men come into the room.

Mortimer returns from the theater as Elaine is being taken to the cellar by Jonathan, and Elaine runs to his arms.

Mortimer orders Jonathan out, but reluctantly agrees that he can stay since his aunts invited him. Mortimer, who thinks that Mr. Hoskins is still in the window seat, says that he will sleep downstairs, but Jonathan insists that he and Einstein will sleep downstairs. When he has a moment alone, Mortimer looks in the window seat and sees Mr. Spenalzo in there rather than Mr.

He tells Jonathan that he knows about the body, and gives his brother one chance to get out, and take Dr. Einstein and Mr. Spenalzo with him.

As he is about to leave, Jonathan sends Dr. Einstein to the cellar to get a case of instruments they stored down there, and Einstein sees the body of Mr. Hoskins in the open grave. Einstein are finishing burying Mr.

Spenalzo and Mr. Hoskins in the same grave. Abby and Martha are very upset about this and threaten to go to the police, but Mortimer tells them he will take care of everything, and they head to bed. After Dr. Einstein begs him to use the quick way. He sees Mortimer tied and gagged and, rather than releasing him, takes the opportunity to tell him the plot of his play as the curtain comes down.

Jonathan is asleep on the sofa, and Dr. Einstein is listening seated at the table, drunk. Two police officers then enter the living room; they have come to arrest Teddy for blowing his bugle during the night. They free Mortimer and arrest Jonathan, who is recognized as being an escapee from a prison for the criminally insane.

Elaine then enters with Mr. The opening night cast consisted of:.

Arsenic and Old Lace Summary & Study Guide

When Kesselring taught at Bethel College in North Newton , Kansas , he lived in a boarding house called the Goerz House, and many of the features of its living room are reflected in the Brewster sisters' living room , where the action of the play is set.

The Goerz House is now the home of the college president. Bethel College was a school of the pacifist Mennonite church. The play appeared at a time of strong isolationist sentiment regarding European affairs. The "murderous old lady" plot line may also have been inspired by actual events that occurred in a house on Prospect St in Windsor, Connecticut , where a woman, Amy Archer-Gilligan , took in boarders, promising "lifetime care", and poisoned them for their pensions.

William Phelps book The Devil's Rooming House tells the story of the police officers and reporters from the Hartford Courant who solved the case.

How Arsenic and Old Lace got its name

It starred Boris Karloff recreating his stage role as homicidal maniac Jonathan Brewster. Einstein and Mr. Witherspoon which they had played in Frank Capra's film version. John Alexander , who created the role of Teddy Brewster on Broadway and reprised it in the film version, returned once more to play the role in the broadcast. Orson Bean played the role of Mortimer Brewster. It would be 23 years before she would finally play the part. Later revivals in the s and s had Bela Lugosi playing the role of Jonathan Brewster with box office returns reflecting better sales than when Boris Karloff traveled through the same cities.

Arsenic and old lace: A comedy

The play is still widely performed and has been translated into many languages, including a Russian film. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources.

It seems a bit farfetched and it made me think of the absurd theater of Eugen Ionesco- we do not have rhinoceros roaming the streets, but there are a couple of old aunts that kill twelve men, a mental case that thinks he is president Teddy Roosevelt and another cuckoo who has killed a dozen people in his turn.

They meet lonely men and offer them an escape from this wretched life of solitude with…Arsenic. There is a romantic side to the comedy and Elaine Harper adds spice to the plot by stumbling upon Jonathan, the lunatic brother who comes home with another dead body to add to the twelve already lying around the house. Mortimer is trying his best to protect Elaine from all the madness and killing that is going around, but he is only making things worse for their relationship by asking his loved one to leave the house.

Is all right maybe once, but he has to send his would be wife packing a few times, as the crazies in his family are busy doing what they know best: Overwhelmed, Mortimer gives up on his marriage plans: The plot thickens when Jonathan shows up with doctor…Einstein. But no, this is one is different- he does not want to pass for the famous Albert.

However, crazy he is. He performs operations on Jonathan, who keeps changing appearance after each, or the most serious of his crimes. They even reach the funny? But the police come in, alas, only to add to the confusion and hilarity.

The local policeman is a…part time writer: How long have you been doing it? But then the main intention is comedy, even if at times I wondered- should I laugh or be horrified. There are moments when I smiled no matter how morbid the talk was…like when the old ladies refused to have a dead stranger in with their own beloved twelve victims.

When the local head of the police finds out about the story of the dead people in the cellar, he dismisses it as another fable, cooked up by these people who claim they are presidents or the like. It is an entertaining read or audition. I heard it in the form of a play, for the BBC- I guess.

Sep 27, Xmusicsnobx rated it liked it. A charming and tasteful little play. Unfortunately, the plot gets stretched out too thin. Not enough content to last as long as it does. By the end, its lost a lot of its original gusto. But besides that, it's pretty entertaining and sometimes funny. Oct 13, Tortla rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: This is a play.

An awesome play. I have no idea when I read this, but I remember it's still good readin' even though it's supposed to be acted out.

I shan't destroy the awesome plot for you, but even if I did you'd still be able to experience the awesome. And I think I've seen parts of the movie I'm not sure though. Nov 10, Kelly rated it it was amazing Shelves: The events in this play are hilarious and appalling at the same time. If you've never thought two old ladies were capable of murder, then apparently you've never experienced this play. Kick back with a cup of coffee or tea, never the wine, and enjoy. Big fun.

Feb 05, Catherine D rated it it was amazing Shelves: One of my favorite plays of all time - funny, just a little creepy and still fun even many years after it was written.

Jan 30, Jesse Roth rated it it was amazing. Delightfully entertaining: Jul 27, Susan rated it it was amazing. The book is more enjoyable than the movie! Jul 31, Michelle rated it really liked it. Very funny! I can't wait to see the movie now. Bettie's Books. Jun 07, Dakota rated it it was amazing. For the time period back then that kind of humor was hilarious with the aunts killing a bunch of old men and think the old men are in hell because they are all alone and depressed with no family left and all that.

That was considered hilarious back then because they did it and didn't think anything was wrong with it like when mortimer finds out and freaks out they are like ohh don't worry about it its ok we are helping them. I would recommend this to anyone who understands this kind of dark humor. Jun 07, Michael rated it it was amazing.

At first I didn't really like the play at all, but when Jonathan was first introduced I actually wanted to finally read my lines assigned to me in class.

Arsenic and Old Lace (play) - Wikipedia

Every second I was metaphorically on the edge of my seat when Mortimer was explaining a play to Einstein and Jonathan was slowly coming up behind Mortimer and going for the curtain cord to tie him up. I hope my small review makes you want to try and read this extraordinary piece of writing by Joseph Kesselring.

Es una comedia negra de enredos, que acontece en una sola noche. El final me ha resultado un poco precipitado y surrealista en exceso. May 31, Kayleigh Clancy rated it really liked it.

The actors made the characters funny and dumb at sometimes and its a really really funny play. I didnt really understand all the concept by reading the play, but watching it, i understood it and loved it. Y si no, te animo a descubrir una gran obra de teatro con grandes dosis de humor. Sep 12, Nahid Ali rated it it was amazing. A very wonderful plot with cleverly delineated characters.

The author has a great talent mixing suspense with comedy, creating an amazing comic thriller. One of the most astonishing aspects of the play is the coolness and simplicity with which the two aunts think and behave. These women are very chilling and very funny at the same time.

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