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Death on the Supermarket Shelf (Centerstage Theatre)

March 18, 2016

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Centerstage's "Death on the Supermarket Shelf".

Centerstage Theatre in Federal Way kicks of March with the intriguing premiere of "Death on the Supermarket Shelf" (DotSMS), a play written by Centerstage Theatre’s managing artistic director Alan Bryce, detailing the events of the 1982 Tylenol scandal. Directed by University of Washington graduate Tina Polzin, Centerstage Theatre pulls together a stellar cast to guide audiences through the myriad of events leading up to the poisoning and the ramifications which continue through today. The result is a compelling, evocative real-life who-done-it drama which also functions as a fitting tribute to the lives that were affected by the events

If you were alive in the early 1980’s, you are no doubt familiar with the Tylenol tampering deaths. What we learn in this poignant and visceral production is that most of us have little awareness of the many disturbing details which occurred behind the scenes. It is a case worthy of Mulder and Scully of X-Files fame, complete with a cast of eccentric characters, some complicit in their knowledge, others mere victims or scapegoats manipulated by a corporation and its allies in the media, FBI and law enforcement. What transpires in their short sighted pursuit of protecting a company, frequently at the expense of the public and the victims, is shocking.

Death on the Supermarket Shelf (DotSMS) may not entertain us in the traditional sense by transporting us to some land of make believe, for it is firmly rooted in the reality of this world. A world we are becoming all too familiar with these days, where corporations spend more time, energy and money on protecting themselves from litigation for wrong doing or negligence than they do in prevention and the safety of their customers. While the topic is sobering, this production is a beacon of light, reminding us why we love the theater. DotSMS reveals to us characters which we can relate to and immerses us in their very real and heart-rending tale. It provokes us to think and to question. Most importantly, DotSMS lingers in our minds long after the lights come on, we stand up and exit the theater.