"So, I Killed a Few People..."

"So, I Killed a Few People..."

Author: Gary Rudoren and David Summers

Description: A chillingly comic monologue delivered by a convicted serial killer on death row whose final request is to put on a one-man show.
Year Written/Copyrighted: 1998
Date Added: 7/6/2011
Content Advisory: some adult language, one detailed description of a killing, not for children or impressionable teens, no nudity but character sits in an adult diaper for a time
Keywords: Satire/Parody · Single Set · Solo Play
This play is in the following collections: FringeNYC 1997-1999
1 Act, 60 Minutes
0 Females, 1 Male
Read an excerpt

NOTE: "So, I Killed a Few People..." is fully protected by copyright law and is subject to royalty. All inquiries concerning production, publication, reprinting or use of this play in any form should be addressed to Gary at G7Rudy@aol.com.

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Original Production Information

"So, I Killed a Few People..." was first presented by The Annoyance in 1998 at The Annoyance Theatre, Chicago, with the following cast and credits:

Archie Nunn: David Summers
Voice of Cop: Mark Sutton

Directed by: Gary Ruderman
Production Design: Gary Ruderman

The New York premiere of “So, I Killed a Few People…” was on August 20, 1998, at The Piano Store, part of the New York International Fringe Festival, with the same cast and credits as above.

Additional productions have been at the Cable Car Theater, San Francisco; and at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, Edinburgh, Scotland. The cast and credits have been as above, except in some cases the Voice of Cop was provided by Joe Dempsey.

Martin Sutherland produced “So, I Killed a Few People…” at the 1999 Edinburgh Fringe Festival and at RiverSide Studios in London, England, and throughout the United Kingdom beginning in February 2000 with the original cast and director.

ITN Review by Martin Denton

Meet Archie Nunn, advertising executive turned serial killer. His goal in life was to be the inventor of a catch phrase that would sweep the nation and imbed itself into the American psyche. He even knows what the catch phrase would be: "You do the math." Instead, he is just days away from dying on the electric chair in a Florida prison for a series of brutal, apparently random murders; he has confessed to eight, but it seems likely that he did many more. His final request before being electrocuted: to put on a one-man show.

This is the show that we are at: Part cathartic confessional, part self-righteous rant, "So, I Killed a Few People..." is Archie's final defiant gesture of hostility toward a society he has never been able to fit into. He tells us, frankly and matter-of-factly, about conditions on Death Row, but his account of systematic degradation and humiliation, though harrowing, doesn't move us the way that, say, Dead Man Walking does. Archie's cynical view of the world doesn't include concepts like justice or due process: he has dealt with his oppression in prison with sardonic detachment, trying to make life as miserable as possible for his tormentors by playing the American games of bureaucracy and civil rights with enormous skill. So he got a court order to be served kosher food, claiming to be a "born again Jew"; and he got another court decision--written by Judge Souter of the United States Supreme Court, no less--allowing him to perform this show.

Archie also tells us, eventually, about his childhood, and about the first horrible murder that made all of the others possible, maybe even inevitable. Throughout his narrative, he returns over and over again to television. He is a child of the sitcom age: his friends, he tells us, were Aunt Bea and Mary Richards and Ralph Malph and Ouisey Jefferson and dozens of other familiar characters from '60s and '70s TV. Did the constant bombardment of banal images help warp this mind, desensitizing it so much that compassion and love got squeezed out? As Archie would say, you do the math.

So far in this review, I have talked about "So, I Killed a Few People..." as if Archie Nunn were a real person and the events described really happened. This is because of the verisimilitude of this skillfully crafted performance: in the sensationalistic, media-obsessed society that is the United States in 1998, everything in Archie Nunn's story rings true. David Sommers's creepily compelling portrayal of Archie is equally on target, a canny mixture of America's favorite serial killers from Charles Manson to Jeffrey Dahmer and from Norman Bates to Hannibal Lechter. We love to get this close to evil, and Mr. Sommers' Archie knows it: he mesmerizes.

"So, I Killed a Few People..." is intense, harsh theatre, clearly not for everyone. But it's enormously effective, not just as a sort of one-man horror show, but as a thoughtful examination of aspects of society that we generally prefer not to examine. It's honest, riveting, and scary: you will ponder, afterward, just how a man comes to be an Archie Nunn.

reviewed at the 1998 New York International Fringe Festival