Theatre Review: MURDER IN THE FIRST: A Cunning Performance

Theatre Review:

MURDER IN THE FIRST: A Cunning Performance

By Sahadev Poudel

Good plays recreate lives and make audiences to live with it during the performance.

The play “Murder In The First” by Dan Gordon is inspired by a real moving story. It is set on 1941 in San Francisco. It tells the story of a murderer, a lawyer and raises the questions of Alcatraz jail’s safety situation and deals with murderer’s psychological states. The story of public defender lawyer, who recently graduated from Harvard Law School and a murderer who wants to, die rather than go back to the Alcatraz jail, seized my eyes and heart.

The 59E59 Theaters introduce, ” Murder In the First is a gripping drama about the murder trial that blew open the deplorable treatment of the prisoners at Alcatraz, the most notorious correctional institution in U.S. history. The stage version of Dan Gordon’s 1995 film explores the unlikely friendship that develops between the young, idealistic attorney and the prisoner that he was brought in to defend.”

The whole play is setting in the courtroom, prison cage and lawyers’ office. I specially liked the set design; the transitional music is very soothing and lighting is perfect. There is a scene of nudity, which looks very artistic due to the lighting. But more than that, I liked the performances of the 15-actor members. Their exceptional performance is so moving. Based on the play’s structure, actors have more lines and less blocking, But they deliver their love, emotion, pain and suffering from heart to heart. When they deliver the lines, they live with it and make audiences to believe it. The public defender character played by Guy Burnet and a murderer played by Chad Kimball are sparking and touchy. I imagine playing one of these characters. The other characters such as Judge played by Thomas Ryan and Journalist played by Ian Holcomb also gave extra power to the play. Every actor’s role is very important in the play. They should be in the same page, even the character that has short roles.

Plays are the product of writer, director and actor. If all these three elements spin together, the beautiful wind of the performance could touch the audience’s heart and capture the eyes. I proudly keep the  “Murder In The First” in the perfect play category.

Because of the edgy performance, I was seating at the edge of the chair for 2hours 15min.I was so careful to blink my eyes because I don’t wanted to miss a bit. This is one of the few plays I will remember for long time.

The play is also based on the movie with same title by the same author. After all, not all plays create equally, so if you are in New York City and would love to watch Off Broadway plays, you would regret if you missed “Murder In The First.” This play recreates lives and makes you to live with it during the performance.

More info:

“Murder In The First” is showing on E59E theatre in Manhattan, NYC. Produced by The Directors Company, in association with Chase Mishkin, Barbara & Buddy Freitag and Invictus Theater Company present the run.

From May 25-July 1,2012

Tickets are available by phoning (212) 279-4200 or online at

Photo from     Twitter profile   Kimmmmmmm ‏@kimberlycoyle             Image

Sahadev Poudel is a radio and theatre artist. He lives and studies in New York.

He also produces Online Radio-HimaliSworharu (


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s