Murder Mystery 'That Poor Girl And How He Killed Her' At CT Rep

Connecticut theatergoers remember Jen Silverman from her Gothic pastiche "The Moors" at Yale Repertory Theatre in 2016. Her "Collective Rage: A Play in Five Betties" premiered at Washington, D.C.'s Woolly Mammoth Theater Company later that year. "Phoebe in Winter" had a production in Boston this year. Her comic drama "The Roommate" has been gaining in popularity nationally and was seen at the Williamstown Theatre Festival in Massachusetts this past summer.

Matthew Pugliese, managing director of Connecticut Repertory Theatre, saw "The Roommate" and expressed interest in directing a Silverman play.

"We reached out to her agent, and they sent this along," Pugliese says during a phone interview. By "this" he means "That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her," a lesser-known Silverman script that was commissioned by Playwrights Horizons in New York and has had one prior college production.

"It's a funny play, a dark play, a murder mystery and a comedy," Pugliese says, "and at 75 minutes, it's very efficient."

"That Poor Girl and How He Killed Her" follows the disappearance of the rich, beautiful Alyssa Long, a UConn student, as her friends begin a social media campaign to discover what happened to her. The play is about social media, social justice and how dark the truth can be.

He particularly likes that "all the characters are in college, and it's set in the summer in the Hamptons," just across the Sound from Connecticut. All eight actors in Silverman's dark social satire are undergraduate students at the University of Connecticut.

The director does acknowledge, however, that "approaching characters their own ages, overcoming their biases," can be a "big challenge for actors.

"The thing that drew me into this play," Pugliese says, "was how the characters use social media." This led to a "very interesting set design" with "a giant mirrored ceiling and a lot of projections."

THAT POOR GIRL AND HOW HE KILLED HER is at Connecticut Repertory Theater, 802 Bolton Road, Storrs, Oct. 26 through Nov. 5. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with 2 p.m. matinees on Nov. 4 and 5. Tickets are $33, with discounts for students and seniors. Recommended for ages 15 and up. 860-486-2113 and crt.uconn.edu.

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