The relationship between a screenwriter and a university professor under investigation for a grisly murder intrigued audiences so much at Playwrights Horizons' intimate Peter Jay Sharp in fall 2004 that it was extended an extra week.
Peter Frechette, John Lavelle, Deirdre O'Connell and Darren Pettie starred in the Sept. 30-Oct. 31, 2004, world premiere. Michael Greif (Rent, Never Gonna Dance) directed the somewhat Hitchcockian tale, which has a subtitle, Or, How I Got Away With It .
According to Playwrights Horizons, the play "tracks the story of a screenwriter (Frechette) who becomes entangled in the life of a university professor (Pettie) under investigation for a grisly murder. What begins as self-interest soon gives way to empathy, and a bond between men from seemingly opposite worlds inexorably deepens."
Spatter Pattern was billed as "an eerie, grimly funny whodunit...a brutally honest and touching elegy about survival and the guilt that accompanies it."
The other nominees in the 2005 Edgar Awards Best Play category were Eliot Ness: An Untouchable Life by Max Allan Collins (The Art House) and An Evening of Murder and the Like by Edward Musto (Barrow Group Studio Theatre). The Mystery Writers of America "is the premier organization for mystery writers, professionals allied to the crime writing field, aspiring crime writers, and those who are devoted to the genre." MWA is "dedicated to promoting higher regard for crime writing and recognition and respect for those who write within the genre."
The Edgar Allan Poe Awards (the "Edgars") are named after MWA's patron saint, Edgar Allan Poe, and are awarded to authors of distinguished work in various categories of the genre.
Spatter Pattern is the seventh play by Neal Bell to be produced at Playwrights Horizons, making him the theatre's second most-produced writer. His previous plays at Playwrights Horizons are Two Small Bodies (his first play, produced in the 1977-78 season), Breaking and Entering, Raw Youth, Cold Sweat, On the Bum and Somewhere in the Pacific.