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Anna Kessler interview #3

Saturday, October 30, 2021 – 10:45 a.m.

Anna Kessler is the Yoknapatawpha Players' Artistic Director and the director of the immersive theatre play.

Detectives Magee and Beckwith spoke with her again at the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department.


  • Detective P. Beckwith
  • Detective J. Magee
  • Anna Kessler

Detective Beckwith: Thank you for speaking with us again.

Anna Kessler: No problem. Let's get on with it. Anna Kessler. 906 Cleveland Avenue, Oxford.

Detective Magee: Great. We appreciate efficiency. What was the relationship between Martin Vargas and Scott Bryant?

Anna Kessler: Two alpha males locking horns.

Detective Magee: So, the relationship was violent?

Anna Kessler: No, not literally locking horns, detective.

Detective Beckwith: Did it have the potential to become violent?

Anna Kessler: I don't— I mean—

Detective Magee: What do you mean?

Anna Kessler: No, I don't think so. Both had strong views about the way things should be, and often those views were not aligned, but...

Detective Magee: Can you give me a specific example of how that played out?

Anna Kessler: Understand that ultimately, I make the decisions, and the two of them squabbling is just that—squabbling.

Detective Beckwith: Do you favor one over the other?

Anna Kessler: Favor? No. Agree with? Yes. Martin is a diva, and his views on how things should be done are solely based on his ego. He counts his lines, and if another actor has more lines to say, Martin will add dialogue. He changes blocking to upstage other actors. This behavior is a nightmare for a stage manager. Scott had to lean on him hard sometimes.

Detective Magee: Did that make Martin angry?

Anna Kessler: At times, yes.

Detective Beckwith: Was he vengeful?

Anna Kessler: He could be manipulative, yes. Sometimes I had to pander to his ego so he'd vote in my favor on certain board issues.

Detective Magee: How did Scott react when this happened?

Anna Kessler: Scott understood the political nature of my decisions and dealt with the egotistical fallout from Martin.

Detective Beckwith: How so?

Anna Kessler: How did Scott deal? He sucked it up like a mature person.

Detective Magee: And how did Martin react when things didn't go his way? Or did things always go Martin's way?

Anna Kessler: No, things didn't always go Martin's way. Scott took a lot of crap from him when Martin was on stage. Martin can be exhausting.

Detective Beckwith: How did Woody feel about Martin's antics?

Anna Kessler: Woody is more … passive.

Detective Magee: Patient?

Anna Kessler: Maybe, but I think more non-confrontational. Woody could handle Martin.

Detective Beckwith: So, Scott and Martin had a non-violent, confrontational relationship?

Anna Kessler: To my knowledge, it never got physically confrontational, but both of them complained to me about the other. Martin was abusing props and breaking things. Martin was adding lines and changing blocking. Scott was a hard-ass. Scott had no talent and didn't understand dramatic structure.

Detective Magee: Is Martin capable of physical violence?

Anna Kessler: Look, detectives. Scott is dead because Janet screwed up. Period.

Detective Beckwith: You think Janet wanted Scott dead?

Anna Kessler: No, I think she's gullible and easily manipulated.

Detective Beckwith: How so?

Anna Kessler: Cherie roped Janet into doing something stupid. That stupid act resulted in a death, and Janet is responsible. I'm so angry at these two women for playing their childish games!

Detective Beckwith: What childish games?

Anna Kessler: Cherie couldn't risk the immersive project being a success, so she got Janet to sabotage the performance. It's never safe to do something outside of what was rehearsed, but especially in a project where there's already the big unknown factor of unrehearsed audience members.

Detective Magee: But didn't you just say Martin does that?

Anna Kessler: Yes, but Martin is different.

Detective Beckwith: Why?

Anna Kessler: Because stage management staff is prepared for him to go rogue, and he goes rogue to showboat, not to sabotage the project.

Detective Magee: So, Martin's ad-libs and blocking changes are more predictable, so they're safer. Is that what you're saying?

Anna Kessler: My point is that Janet is directly responsible for Scott's death, and Cherie put her up to it. I think Janet deliberately locked Heath in that room. I think that, in a drug-induced haze, Heath beat the wall down, and it landed on top of Scott. Janet's actions were intentional, and the result was Scott's death.

Detective Beckwith: And the motive?

Anna Kessler: Cherie's hell-bent need to have the immersive project fail, and Janet's pathetic need to be liked by the popular girl. God, they both make me sick. I've told you all I know, detectives. I really don't have anything else to say about it.

Detective Beckwith: One more question. Is it possible that Cherie's concerns about Lara's accounting methods and the associated risks have been misinterpreted as a "hell-bent need for the project to fail"?

Anna Kessler: What? What are you talking about? I don't understand your question. First of all, Lara's methods are impeccable, and second, Cherie can barely spell "balance sheet," let alone read one. Her motive is greed, detective. She doesn't give a crap about the theatre's bottom line.

Detective Magee: Okay, thank you. You're free to go. For now.

Anna Kessler: Thank you.

Interview ended – 11:07 a.m.



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