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A Boddy of Lies
A Tragedy in Five Acts, Origins 2015, June 6, 2015
Daisy Claret (yellow), the jealous daughter Margaret Armenia
Artemis Claret (red), the unfortunate father Ted Webster
Jordan Greene (green), the arrogant lover Chantel Kapustick
Captain Percival Peacock (blue), the trusting authority Pat McCauley
Professor Winfield Bloom (violet), the ambitious foil Brian Kapustick
Robert Boddy, host and victim Chantel Kapustick and Michelle Lyons-McFarland
Jarvis, butler Margaret Armenia
Detective Ketchum, police investigator Brian Kapustick
Setting: The Boddy family estate, 1922
Robert Boddy had all the trappings of the wealthy New England elite, except for the wealth. He did, however, have connections. It was Bobby’s hope that by investing in an emerging technology touted by his acquaintance, Prof. Winfield Bloom that he could reclaim the wealth he had lost through many short sighted means throughout his life. He has invited his longtime colleague and established industrialist, Artemis Claret and Captain Percival Peacock of the United States Army Procurement Office to a dinner on his immense family estate where Prof. Bloom will hopefully convince them to invest in this endeavor.
Act I: Scene 1: Mr. Boddy’s smoking room as guests are arriving
BLOOM pitches his business plan for wireless electricity to CAPT. PEACOCK and CLARET. PEACOCK is immediately interested and willing to offer military contracts if the technology proves itself. CLARET on the other hand, is suspicious of anyone wanting to spend his money. It is evident that CLARET and BODDY have a strained relationship stemming from an incident that led to fisticuffs at CLARET’s wife’s funeral. Despite their differences, CLARET shows a great interest in buying the BODDY estate although BODDY is not interested is selling it.
Act I: Scene 2: Meanwhile in the estate’s expansive gardens
DAISY, who accompanied her father despite his misgivings, and GREENE have a lengthy discussion in which it becomes plainly obvious that DAISY is unhappy with her life. She feels as if her father is suffocating her and not allowing her to spread her wings. She longs to travel and see Europe and experience life. Her close friend, GREENE, who has experienced all DAISY is hoping for supports DAISY in this desire to free herself from CLARET. GREENE plays along with DAISY’s disdain for her father, but secretly wishes to fan a tryst she had with CLARET into a full blown relationship as he has all the wealth a woman of her ilk desires.
Act I: Scene 3: Pre-dinner cocktails in the sitting room
BODDY stumbles on the weakness BLOOM has for alcohol and that it caused him to be dismissed from Mr. Thomas Edison’s employ. When CLARET lets it slip where BODDY keeps the non-watered down liquor hidden, BLOOM takes note. Through BLOOM’s prodding questions, BODDY also learns that despite his war hero persona, PEACOCK never really saw heavy combat during The Great War. Not to leave CLARET out of his machinations, BODDY hints at a love triangle between himself, CLARET, and CLARET’s late wife. A love triangle that CLARET refuses to believe existed. As JARVIS calls the guests in to dinner BLOOM and BODDY lead the way followed by CLARET, horrified to see that GREENE is in attendance, escorting Miss GREENE. Lastly come PEACOCK leading DAISY, both of whom are smitten with each other from first glance.
Act II: Scene 1: Dining room during dinner
PEACOCK and DAISY fall quickly in love. DAISY has found in PEACOCK her savior who can help her see the world, and PEACOCK has found the frail beauty he has been searching for. All is looking good for the two love birds. Meanwhile, in an aside BLOOM reveals that although his stolen ideas for a leap in technology may never come about, he must get his hands on CLARET’s money; CLARET has more money than he could ever spend. Calling for everyone’s attention, CLARET announces to the collected audience that he has consented to give his daughter’s hand in marriage to BODDY. As expected, PEACOCK and DAISY are mortified, while GREENE sees this as an opportunity to focus her attention on CLARET and his money since BODDY will no longer be leering after her.
Act II: Scene 2: After dinner in Mr. Boddy’s personal study
DAISY and her father bitterly fight over her arranged marriage with BODDY. DAISY lets her father know her ambitions for college, travel, and a life of her own. CLARET confides in his daughter that the marriage will be short as BODDY is well advanced in years and that this arrangement will work in DAISY’s favor as she is his sole heir and as the wife of BODDY will likely inherit the estate (which CLARET still wishes to claim as his own). PEACOCK arrives as CLARET is exiting. Together DAISY and PEACOCK concoct plans to elope.
Act II: Scene 3: Meanwhile in the study
GREENE catches BLOOM snooping around BODDY’s desk and confronts him about it. Rather than denying it, BLOOM explains that he knows BODDY is hiding something. Something involving BODDY and CLARET. If handled correctly the information could prove profitable. With greed in her eyes, GREENE locks the study door and the two of them tear through every drawer and ledger they can find. GREENE finds a twenty year old letter written to BODDY by CLARET’s late wife revealing that DAISY is in fact BODDY’s daughter and not CLARET’s. The two plot to blackmail BODDY to keep this secret from CLARET.
Act III: Scene 1: In the garden a little later
As PEACOCK runs through the elopement plans in his head, GREENE happens by and engages him in conversation regarding DAISY. GREENE is unhappy that DAISY is planning to run away with PEACOCK as this will stall her chance to get her hands on CLARET’s money. GREENE confides her knowledge of DAISY’s true parentage with PEACOCK, assuring him that elopement will not be necessary as the arranged marriage could never take place. This causes GREENE and PEACOCK to stop and wonder why BODDY would ever consent to such a marriage in the first place knowing that he could not marry his own daughter, except to maybe cause CLARET more grief.
Act III: Scene 2: Meanwhile in the sitting room
BLOOM finds CLARET drinking alone and fretting how his plans to gaining ownership of BODDY’s estate are unraveling because of his petulant daughter. BLOOM sees his opportunity to gain CLARET’s trust by revealing the secret of DAISY’s real father and how this can be used to ruin BODDY and making the acquisition of the estate that much easier. CLARET, although dismayed by the unfaithfulness of his late wife, finally agrees to besmirch BODDY’s name with this secret.
Act III: Scene 3: In Boddy’s library not much later
As all parties gather, quite coincidently in the library, the various grievances each person has with BODDY are restated. While preparing drinks, JARVIS discovers the corpse of BODDY lying face down with no obvious sign of wrongdoing.
Act IV: Scene 1: Library, moments after previous scene
The accusations fly. Everyone but PEACOCK and JARVIS was accused of murdering BODDY. CLARET begins to panic thinking he has the most obvious motive of anyone, and is overcome. DAISY helps her father out of the library and onto the veranda where he can clear his head.
Act IV: Scene 2: On the veranda
Genuinely concerned for her father’s state of mind DAISY tries to reason with him and apologizes for the cruel things she said early in the evening. CLARET cannot hold back the allegation that DAISY is not his daughter at all, but BODDY’s. DAISY refuses to believe this revelation until CLARET sees BLOOM through the French doors and beckons him to join the two of them and corroborate the story by showing DAISY the letter found in BODDY’s study.
Act IV: Scene 3: Meanwhile in the library with the corpse
The police have been called. GREENE heatedly accuses PEACOCK of murdering BODDY to clear the way for him to take DAISY away from her father. PEACOCK, in turn, reminds GREENE that with BODDY dead she has nothing to gain with the knowledge that DAISY was his daughter rather than CLARET’s. The scene closes with the arrival of Detective KETCHUM who summons everyone to the study where they are to stay while he inspects the body.
Act V: Scene 1: In the study
The entire cast awaits the arrival of KETCHUM after his examination of the murder scene. When KETCHUM arrives he announces that the cause of death was strychnine poisoning. Evidently the gin BODDY was drinking that night was laced with the poison. BLOOM takes the news hard and all suspicion turns toward him. He, however, reveals that ever since CLARET let it slip where BODDY kept his personal supply, BLOOM has been sneaking away to sample the supply. The poison must have been added to the supply rather than BODDY’s glass as BLOOM suddenly takes violently ill and falls over, dead. As everyone’s attention is on BLOOM, DAISY and JARVIS lock eyes and it is apparent that there is something between them; something very secret and something very sinister.
Act V: Scene 2: In the sitting room as suspects are being questioned in the study
CLARET is struggling hard to hold his composure as he is now sure that he will be blamed for the murder of BODDY and the homicide of BLOOM. GREENE finds him in this condition and realizes how vulnerable he is at this point. She insists that if he does not agree to meet her demands she will concoct a story of his guilt so believable that he will be locked away for the rest of his life and all his assets will be seized. This is the last straw and causes CLARET to push past GREENE to leave. The collision knocks GREENE down and her head strikes the stone hearth of the room’s fireplace. A visible pool of blood immediately starts to grow from underneath her still and unbreathing body.
Act V: Scene 3:
Certain that he would be found guilty of the deaths at the BODDY estate this evening, CLARET cannot accept this fate. He takes the pistol he keeps in his limousine, puts it to his head and takes his own life. KETCHUM becomes suspicious of DAISY as she cannot answer his barrage of questions. In haste PEACOCK comes to her rescue by confessing to poisoning BODDY to pave the way for him to marry DAISY. As PEACOCK is being led away DAISY quietly confesses to PEACOCK that although she would have wanted to see the world with him she has been in a long term relationship with JARVIS; and that is a relationship she will not jeopardize under any circumstances. The two youths were content to be patient until JARVIS could make a way for himself, but the announcement of her engagement to BODDY required a quick and desperate change in plans. Watching BODDY’s estate through the rear window of the police car, PEACOCK realizes that he has been played the fool. PEACOCK was successfully court martialed, dishonorably discharged from the army, tried for the deaths of BODDY and BLOOM and was subsequently sentenced to life imprisonment in a maximum security penitentiary. With the vast amount of wealth she inherited from CLARET, DAISY did elope, but with JARVIS. It wasn’t until they were at a border crossing in Europe that DAISY had a look at JARVIS’ birth certificate and learned, to her utter shock, that Mr. Robert BODDY was the father of JARVIS. JARVIS was not the butler. He was the bastard son, the unwittingly incestuous half-brother, and the murderer of his own father.