Stage Plays
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"Veronica's Room"

Veronica’s Room

“Nobody forgives you, Veronica! Not even angels! Not even Jesus!”
    —Nedra Brabissant (Act II)
Credit: Fulton Theatre

Those who mistakenly think Ira Levin only wrote female victims never saw Veronica's Room. (Or Interlock. Or Drat! The Cat! Or...)

We can't disclose too much of the plot – which plays out in real time over the course of a single evening – except to say that co-ed Susan Kerner agrees to impersonate the long-dead sister of an elderly at-death's-door spinster, to monumentally bad effect.

Too shocking for 1973, Levin's dark-as-night theatrical frightener continues to enjoy global popularity both here and around the globe (South America, China, the Middle East...) due to its universal themes of gaslighting and repression – to name two of the milder offenses at hand.

It's also a favorite among colleges and universities, with two of its four-member ensemble cast being college-aged.

With Veronica's Room, Levin truly outdid himself, crafting a Rubik's Cube within a kaleidoscope – whose four ensemble roles constitute some of the most complex in the theater canon, given the myriad layers of structural complexity that underpin them.

Credit: UCF School of Performing Arts

Veronica's Room opened on Broadway in October of 1973 at the Music Box Theatre – where Deathtrap would play five years later – and was revived off-Broadway in 1981 at New York's Provincetown Playhouse.

“One day I saw down at the typewriter, and I really saw an image and couldn't get rid of it. As clear as I've ever seen anything in a theater. A man and woman were entering a room in which all the furniture was covered with sheets. A girl was waiting in the doorway and a young man was standing behind her. That took a year and a half to figure out.”
    —Levin (Associated Press, 1973)

  • The play inspired this goth rock ballad
  • Levin made a heartfelt appeal to the legendary Uta Hagen to appear in the Broadway production; the part went ultimately to the formidable Eileen Heckart, but Hagen would cameo five years later in the screen adaptation of Levin's The Boys from Brazil

(Above) Ira Levin (top) with Broadway company

(Above) Credit: Mark Wyville