Friday, October 29, 2021 – 3:30 p.m.
Martin Vargas is the actor representative on the Yoknapatawpha Players' board and a lead actor in the "Zombie Escape" production.
Detectives Beckwith and Magee spoke with him again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Martin Vargas
Detective Beckwith: Good afternoon, Mr. Vargas. Have a seat. We have a few questions for you.
Martin Vargas: All right.
Detective Beckwith: Full name and address to start.
Martin Vargas: Martin Emilio Vargas. I live at 1001 Inverness Lane, Apartment #2, Oxford.
Detective Magee: Okay, I want you to think back to the big zombie battle you were involved in during the "Zombie Escape" rehearsal in which Scott Bryant was killed.
Martin Vargas: All right.
Detective Magee: You mentioned in your first interview with us that you had to switch weapons?
Martin Vargas: Yeah, the script called for me to run out of bullets and then run off stage to get a hand-to-hand weapon. During that time, the audience would have to fight or hide without their best defender. Then I come back in to save them all at the last minute. It was the best scene in what was a pretty mediocre show.
Detective Beckwith: And what was that hand-to-hand weapon again?
Martin Vargas: A club with razor wire on it.
Detective Beckwith: Was the club real?
Martin Vargas: I did notice that it was heavy for a prop at the time, but I'm pretty sure the razor wire on it was fake. It was really bloody from the time I first picked it up. It about slipped out of my hands.
Detective Magee: When did you first have the club in your possession?
Martin Vargas: Right when I picked it up from backstage during that big battle scene.
Detective Beckwith: Specifically, where was it backstage?
Martin Vargas: Scott placed it in a weapon cradle for me just off stage.
Detective Beckwith: What kind of cradle was it?
Martin Vargas: Just hooks screwed into a wall is all.
Detective Magee: Where was this cradle?
Martin Vargas: It was mounted to the back of the set near the mobile hospital lab.
Detective Magee: Roughly near the place backstage that y'all found Scott Bryant's body?
Martin Vargas: Yeah. Wait, wait, wait. What are y'all implying here? I didn't cause any accidents that got someone killed.
Detective Beckwith: Maybe we're not implying any accidents at all.
Martin Vargas: So you think I bashed Scott's head in with a club and then threw a wall over him. That's a reach, don't you think?
Detective Magee: You were the one who said the club was heavy and bloody when you brought it on stage, not us. We're just looking for an explanation, that's all.
Martin Vargas: Yeah, well, the only thing I did was grab the club out of its cradle and go back on stage.
Detective Beckwith: Was it the same weapon you had used during other rehearsals?
Martin Vargas: Scott had different props in there before—a huge pipe wrench, a crowbar, a mocked-up Louisville Slugger.
Detective Magee: Is this the first time a razor wire club appeared in the cradle?
Martin Vargas: No, but it was by far the heaviest. And it was the goriest one of its type, that's for sure. I remember thinking that Scott kind of overdid it at the time.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see Scott backstage when you grabbed the club?
Martin Vargas: No.
Detective Magee: Did you see if the set wall had fallen into the backstage area at that time?
Martin Vargas: No, but it must have.
Detective Magee: Why?
Martin Vargas: Because I saw Heath backstage wandering around.
Detective Magee: How come you never told us this in your first interview?
Martin Vargas: Really? I didn't know I didn't. With Scott's accident, I didn't think it mattered that much, I guess.
Detective Beckwith: Where was Heath backstage when you saw him?
Martin Vargas: Okay, let me go back a bit. Here's how everything happened. I ran backstage, saw the club in its cradle like it was supposed to be. I grabbed it and looked up, saw Heath wandering in the dark towards the east end of the warehouse away from me. I didn't have time to yell at him or anything because I didn't want to miss my cue, so I ran back on stage to hold off the zombies.
Detective Magee: Did you see anyone else backstage other than Heath?
Martin Vargas: No.
Detective Magee: When you went back onstage, did you strike any other actors with the club?
Martin Vargas: No, the hand-to-hand fighting was choreographed to be defensive in nature to allow time for the audience to get to the maze. I was parrying blows up until my character's heroic death.
Detective Beckwith: Using the club the whole time?
Martin Vargas: Yes.
Detective Magee: After your character died, what happened to the club?
Martin Vargas: I dropped it on the battlefield somewhere.
Detective Magee: Did you pick it back up when you returned to the evacuation point after the play?
Martin Vargas: No, I just left it there with all the other cast-offs from the battle.
Detective Beckwith: So anyone could have picked it up after you left?
Martin Vargas: Yeah, I guess so.
Detective Magee: Tell us about your working relationship with Scott Bryant.
Martin Vargas: Yeah, so, this is going to look bad for me because we weren't exactly the best of friends or anything.
Detective Magee: What does that mean?
Martin Vargas: Scott was always micromanaging every little thing. He didn't give you space as an actor to breathe.
Detective Magee: He was the stage manager.
Martin Vargas: The stage manager's job is not to kill the performance. He never really understood my talent or was jealous of it or probably both. He'd always change the blocking or something so my character wasn't as central to the action like it was meant to be in the script.
Detective Beckwith: So what would you do when Scott made these changes?
Martin Vargas: I ignored them. Or I improvised. I would say that many of my best performances were when I improvised something that Scott changed on the fly.
Detective Beckwith: So Scott did this often?
Martin Vargas: Enough to be a pain-in-the-ass.
Detective Magee: Do you think Scott was trying to hurt your performances on purpose to make you look bad?
Martin Vargas: Ha! Good one. I never look bad. I've never had a bad show in my life.
Detective Beckwith: Did others notice that you and Scott didn't always work well together?
Martin Vargas: Sure, it wasn't a secret. Woody knew. That's why when he would run the show in Scott's absence, he'd always give me the space I needed.
Detective Beckwith: So would it be safe to say that you would rather have Woody as stage manager over Scott?
Martin Vargas: Not enough to toss a wall on him, if that's what you're getting at.
Detective Magee: Just answer the question.
Martin Vargas: Yeah, sure, I'd rather have Woody run things.
Detective Magee: To the point of suggesting as much to the board in your role as actor-board member?
Martin Vargas: I'm going to be honest. I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind. But I didn't … haven't.
Detective Magee: Why not?
Martin Vargas: Because with Denis writing these new scripts, it wouldn't matter that much anyway.
Detective Beckwith: Explain that.
Martin Vargas: Now that we're doing these immersive shows, Denis's writing has gone downhill. I mean, he wasn't Tennessee Williams in the first place, but now we're doing "Zombie Escape." "Zombie Escape!" Do you know how derivative and tired are zombies at this point? I'm sure he's mulling over some comic book superhero trash as we speak.
Detective Beckwith: Not a Batman fan?
Martin Vargas: He sure isn't the complex character that Stanley Kowalski is. And when you have a Marlon Brando in your company, why would you offer him a Ben Affleck script?
Detective Magee: Should we understand you to be saying that you're not interested in doing any more immersive shows?
Martin Vargas: I didn't say that. I'm just saying Denis's scripts are increasingly dull and unworthy of my talent. It could be that he can't write a good immersive play, or maybe his hatred of Scott is getting in the way of his writing. Who knows?
Detective Beckwith: I'll bite. Tell us how much Denis hates Scott.
Martin Vargas: Wow, I'm surprised you haven't heard yet. The way I understand it, Denis's old girlfriend dumped him for Scott, and Scott treated her like crap, so she killed herself. Denis blamed Scott for her suicide, and the two of them couldn't stand to be in the same room with each other.
Detective Beckwith: So Denis would make a good suspect in Scott's "accident"?
Martin Vargas: Better than me. Damn, you don't have to believe me. Ask around. You'll find out.
Detective Magee: We'll do just that, Mr. Vargas. Then we'll be speaking again.
Martin Vargas: Oh, I'll definitely clear my schedule for you.
Interview ended – 4:04 p.m.