Model Victims is the first scene of Model Killer: Giant Crimes & Tiny Cover-Ups, a morbid comedy centered on Vivian Nutt, a disgruntled dollhouse maker turned investigator. Vivian builds dioramas of unsolved murders, only for it to be revealed that she is in fact a serial killer. In Model Killer, I am creating a universe in which the viewer is invited to reconsider female serial killers, the historically feminine craft of miniatures, and murder as entertainment.
Model Victims, takes place during an opening night ribbon cutting gala at the West Ripton Falls Institute of Crime. At the gala, Chief curator, Mavis Blumenthal, unveils the new Murderabilia Wing to elite donors featuring a collection of feminist power objects.
On Mavis’s tour, we learn about some of the serial killers featured in the collection, including the cult leader behind the Jolene-ville massacre, The Middleberry Mobility Scooter Shooter, The Sherman City Sous Chef, and the notorious Wakefield Hospice Puppeteer. We are also introduced to some of the unsavory residents from the small town of Ripton Falls, a present day dystopia marred by heightened conflict, growing violence, and a proliferation of personality disorders. They include:
- Trixi Ransom, a narcissistic blogger who is dying to be famous by being the first to report celebrity deaths and her fan-date, Jarred Fink
- Grace Shapiro, the hot-headed, histrionic crime TV personality
- Judith Dinkler, the former first-lady of Ripton Falls (and a celebrity murder)
- The Institute’s board of trustees, mostly elderly women who regularly attend public executions and use their resources eliminate social safety net programs
During the tour, Mavis’s curatorial assistant, Sashka Saltikova, discovers a mysterious package containing a letter explaining how Vivian became The Model Killer. Inside the package is a scale model of the Institute of Crime in which all of the patrons have perished from a gas attack that begins while Mavis hasn’t quite finished reading the letter. This initial scene, Model Victims, sets up a series of flash backs showing Vivian Nutt’s origin story – starting as a lonely crafter in her shop, Little Miss Miniac’s Miniature Marvels the day before her first killing.
Private Reading, Eugene O’Neill Theater Center