Deathtrap Director is Ready for a Fight

Deathtrap may be the perfect show for Matthew Pyle’s Omaha Community Playhouse directing debut. This murder thriller is full of plot twists and turns in which every character is engaged in on-stage combat at some point during the two acts. As a fight choreographer who studied stage combat under some of the nation’s most accomplished teachers, Matthew clearly has the credentials for this directing challenge.

Prior to moving to Omaha, Matthew worked as an actor, director, fight choreographer and teacher at many schools and theatres around the country. He studied stage combat at Carnegie-Mellon University and later studied with K. Jenny Jones, the first woman Fight Master – the highest rank granted by the Society of American Fight Directors.

So, how does his expertise assist him in directing this play?

“The violence in Deathtrap is explosive,” said Matthew. “[Playwright] Ira Levin uses the violence to great effect in furthering the twists and turns that make the play the great thriller it is.  Choreographed violence is usually given to actors to learn in the same way they are to memorize their lines. With this show we’ve been able to work in a much more organic way with the actors ‘finding’ the fights and creating the physicality to match their intentions.”

Although Deathtrap is Matthew’s first directing gig at OCP, he has shared his acting and fight choreography talents at OCP for the past few years. He has choreographed violence in OCP’s productions of A Streetcar Named Desire, Steel Magnolias, Flyin’ West, Boom, The Fantasticks and August, Osage County,as well as Neighborhood 3 and Mauritius for the 21 and Over series. Onstage, Matthew has been seen as Steve in Becky’s New Car, a doctor in A Streetcar Named Desire, Kyle (the UPS guy) in Legally Blonde and Steve in the 21 and Over reading of Neighborhood 3: Requisition of Doom.

Experience the thrill of Deathtrap Jan. 18-Feb. 10 in the Howard and Rhonda Hawks Mainstage Theatre. Show times are Wednesday–Saturday at 7:30 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. Tickets are $35 for adults and $21 for students. For groups of 12 or more, tickets are $23 for adults and $15 for students. On Wednesday, Jan. 23, tickets for that night’s show are $10 at the Box Office after 4 p.m. (cash or check only).

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