Smiling man with short dark hair

Denis Goodman interview #3

Saturday, October 30, 2021 – 10:00 a.m.

Denis Goodman is the resident playwright for the Yoknapatawpha Players.

Detectives Magee and Beckwith asked him to come into the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department again for some more questions.


  • Detective P. Beckwith
  • Detective J. Magee
  • Denis Goodman

Detective Beckwith: Thanks for coming in again, Mr. Goodman. Detective Magee and I have a few more questions for you.

Denis Goodman: Okay, shoot.

Detective Beckwith: Please state your name and address for the record.

Denis Goodman: Denis Owen Goodman, 503 Brittany Drive, Apartment #23, Oxford.

Detective Magee: To start, could you detail your relationship with Scott Bryant and Virginia Dole?

Denis Goodman: I told you the first time we talked that we were all friends.

Detective Magee: Other people have described it in much more complicated terms.

Denis Goodman: Really?

Detective Beckwith: As in, you might have a reason to harm Scott.

Denis Goodman: I was waiting for you to ask that. I was hoping you wouldn't.

Detective Magee: Why?

Denis Goodman: Because we hadn't been on good terms before he died. But I'd never hurt the guy. I knew someone would eventually say that I'd be okay with him dying. Was it Woody? Vargas?

Detective Beckwith: Never mind about that. If you have something you need to tell us, now's the time to spill it, so we don't hear any more from anyone else.

Denis Goodman: The reason I had a problem with him is that I brought Scott into the troupe. If I wouldn't have, Ginny would still be alive.

Detective Magee: Okay, let's start at the beginning here. When did you and Ginny meet?

Denis Goodman: In 2017 or so.

Detective Magee: Where specifically?

Denis Goodman: I was hired by her marketing firm, Norcross Designs, to help revamp their hiring and training processes. They asked me to write some of their corporate training videos, and I worked closely with Ginny in the production of those videos in the later stages.

Detective Magee: Were you attracted romantically to her?

Denis Goodman: I was attracted to her. I will admit to it. I thought Ginny was a tremendous person. She was smart, energetic, and an incredibly talented marketer. But she had a boyfriend, and I wasn't going to interfere in their relationship.

Detective Beckwith: Was Scott that boyfriend?

Denis Goodman: He was.

Detective Magee: How did Ginny feel about you?

Denis Goodman: We were friends. I loved how strong she was. She loved how quirky I am. We enjoyed each other's company immensely, but she also loved Scott. I knew that and wasn't butting in. 

Detective Beckwith: When did you first meet Scott?

Denis Goodman: Probably at one of the Norcross company picnics, something like that.

Detective Beckwith: What was your first impression of him?

Denis Goodman: I don't know. He didn't stand out. He wasn't that outgoing. I found out he was interested in theater, and Ginny said he was pretty good with his hands, so I mentioned that I was working as a playwright on the side with the Yoknapatawpha Players. I told him if he was okay with it, I could introduce him to the troupe.

Detective Magee: What did he say about that?

Denis Goodman: He lit up like a Christmas tree. He took me up on it, there and then.

Detective Beckwith: Did you actually introduce Scott to the troupe?

Denis Goodman: Yes, I put him in touch with Anna Kessler. He ended up getting the job as stage manager later. Initially, I thought it was great. If I was working with Scott, I could see Ginny on a regular basis. 

Detective Beckwith: It seems to me like you wanted to be more than friends with this woman.

Denis Goodman: I don't know what I was thinking.

Detective Magee: You said you initially thought it was great. Did something make you change your mind?

Denis Goodman: Scott never went out socially. He was at the theater constantly. I hardly ever saw Ginny once after Scott got the stage manager job. I'd sometimes ask Scott how she was doing, but he'd just say "good" or "fine" and leave it at that.

Detective Magee: You didn't question him further?

Denis Goodman: No. I should have. But I didn't know things had got so bad that Ginny would kill herself.

Detective Beckwith: What do you mean when you say "things got so bad"?

Denis Goodman: I mean their relationship. He was neglecting her at best, maybe treating her even worse when he did go home. I don't know. I wasn't there. I do know Ginny wasn't a fragile person, so he must have really pushed her to do it.

Detective Beckwith: Did you confront Scott about Ginny's death?

Denis Goodman: We had words. I never thought he was even that broken up about it, which pissed me off even more. But I never touched him.

Detective Magee: Did you continue with your working relationship?

Denis Goodman: I had to. Anna and I had convinced the board to let us try an immersive play, and we had just gotten the funding for it, and we couldn't replace Scott at that point.

Detective Beckwith: Even if you couldn't stand to be in the same room with each other?

Denis Goodman: Oh, y'all were talking to Martin Vargas, weren't you? Well, I can tell you a few things about Martin Vargas. 

Detective Magee: Like?

Denis Goodman: First of all, he wouldn't be able to tell if I couldn't stand to be in the room with Scott because most of the time, he was blowing Scott off. Nothing is ever good enough for Vargas. If things went wrong, it was never Vargas's fault. Scott was one of the few people who didn't take Vargas's crap, sometimes to the point of getting up into each other's faces.

Detective Magee: You've witnessed this?

Denis Goodman: Absolutely. Everyone in the troupe has. During rehearsals for this last show, Vargas was a bigger prick than he usually has been.

Detective Beckwith: How so?

Denis Goodman: He's always complaining, criticizing everyone, and he always gave Scott the worst of it. Before I started writing "Zombie Escape," Anna came to me and told me to write a bigger role for Kyler Birdsall so he'd be ready to take Vargas's roles in the future.

Detective Magee: Meaning that she was angling to remove Martin Vargas from the troupe?

Denis Goodman: Yes, ma'am. The only protection Vargas had was Cherie Atkinson on the board. Cherie, as far as I can tell, wants to make life miserable for Anna, so she has continually fed Vargas's ego by arranging for him to get the starring roles. 

Detective Magee: Do you think Martin would be motivated to hurt Scott?

Denis Goodman: Yeah, he might. Do you mean during the "Zombie Escape" rehearsal? I thought that was an accident.

Detective Beckwith: We are just pursuing leads.

Denis Goodman: So I look like a suspect to you? You have to remember that I wasn't in the show. Remember, I told you, I wasn't there.

Detective Magee: Calm down, Mr. Goodman. Focus on the questions. Since you wrote the play, was Martin Vargas scripted to leave the performance area to go backstage during the climactic battle against the zombies?

Denis Goodman: Yes, he was. Anna thought that if I scripted Vargas' character to run out of bullets and be forced to run offstage to find a hand-to-hand weapon, then the immersed audience members would be forced to seek protection with the real hero of the story—Birdsall's character. After Vargas's character gets the hand-to-hand weapon and returns to the fight, we killed off his character. 

Detective Beckwith: What was the hand-to-hand weapon?

Denis Goodman: That wasn't scripted. I think I just have "melee weapon found randomly in camp" in the script.

Detective Magee: Who had responsibility for the weapon and its positioning during the show? 

Denis Goodman: Scott.

Detective Magee: Where was the weapon supposed to be prior to its use in the show?

Denis Goodman: On some hooks fastened to the backside of a set wall near the mobile lab.

Detective Beckwith: Near where Scott was killed.

Denis Goodman: That's right.

Detective Beckwith: Once Vargas had the weapon, what was he scripted to do with it?

Denis Goodman: Parry blows from the zombies but not attack them. His character was holding off the zombies so the audience members could get away.

Detective Magee: After Martin's character died, where did the weapon go?

Denis Goodman: That wasn't scripted. Like Vargas's character, it was supposed to just fall to the ground.

Detective Beckwith: But, since, as you say, you weren't in attendance during the play, you can't be sure where that weapon was during the play from beginning to end, can you?

Denis Goodman: I… well, no.

Detective Magee: All right, Mr. Goodman, we're done with our questions for today. We'll contact you if and when we have more questions for you.

Denis Goodman: You have to know I didn't do anything to hurt Scott. You have to know that.

Detective Beckwith: We'll be in touch, Mr. Goodman.

Interview ended – 10:27 a.m.



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