Cover art by Stephen Mellor

The White Death

Daniel Therriault
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Winner of a Drama-Logue Award for Best Writing


In a satire of hard-boiled film noir, a priest-operative force-baptizes sinners at gunpoint to save their souls. The operative, Rev Hunter, comes to the Volcano Bar, which perches on the rim of an active volcano in Hawaii, to investigate a murder. He becomes entangled in a series of murders and corporate intrigue as he interacts with a local prostitute who sees herself as a small business, a violent allergic Hawaiian, and the bar owner who dreams of running a first-class restaurant. Roles for Asian, Hawaiian, and Pacific Islander actors.

Production Info

Cast: 6 total (1 female, 5 male, flexible casting up to 8 actors)
Full Length Dark Comedy (about 120 minutes)
Single Set
Contemporary Costumes
Category: Tags: , ,

Press Quotes

“THE WHITE DEATH is a riotously funny play, high camp and the highest of satires. Playwright Daniel Therriault weaves a tale of intrigue and international cat and mouse games with local murders, salvations and betrayals at its edges.” —Drama-Logue

“Therriault’s tonal tidal wave … a serious message bubbles through satire … a funhouse mirror reflecting Hawaii.” —Los Angeles Herald Examiner

“Ricochets off the stage!” —Variety

“Darkly comic vision of corruption and redemption.” —LA Weekly

“Daniel Therriault’s vision of Hawaii is not the stuff of which travel brochures are made. ‘People don’t know Hawaii,’ said the slim, bespectacled playwright. ‘They think Hawaii is Waikiki — but to the Hawaiians, Waikiki is where the tourists are. I’ve spent time there because my wife is blood-Hawaiian. The truth is that we went in and colonized their island, completely converted their culture, their language, their way of life. We went in with an army and pointed guns at their queen. We castrated their society.’ The darker side of that society is the setting for Therriault’s latest work, THE WHITE DEATH, a Hawaii-based murder mystery.” —Janice Arkatov, Los Angeles Times

About the Author


  • Daniel Therriault

    Daniel Therriault is a playwright and screenwriter. As an actor in Chicago's off-Loop theatre movement in the 1970s, Therriault was nominated for a 1977 Jeff Award for Best Actor in a Principal Role for WHO'S HAPPY NOW? at the Body Politic Theatre. He performed in full seasons at the Alley Theatre in Houston and at the Milwaukee Repertory Theater, as well as Off-Off Broadway. His first play, BATTERY, premiered Off-Broadway in 1981 at the Theatre at St. Clements and was the professional stage debut of actress Holly Hunter, who went on to win the Academy Award for Best Actress for The Piano. BATTERY was performed by The Actors' Gang at Second Stage in Los Angeles, produced by actors Tim Robbins and Meg Ryan. Other productions include the CAST Theatre in Los Angeles starring LeVar Burton, produced by John Wells, in 1983 (Drama-Logue Award for Best Writing), the New York Theatre Workshop, the Staatstheater Braunschweig in Germany in 1989 and the Edinburgh Festival in Scotland in 1989. The play was developed for the screen by Oscar-winning director Tony Richardson and Richard Olivier. BATTERY was chosen by Broadway Play Publishing for the company's inaugural printing in 1983. THE WHITE DEATH premiered at Kawaiahao Hall Theatre in Honolulu, Hawaii in 1986 and opened at the CAST Theatre in Los Angeles in 1987 (Drama-Logue Award for Best Writing). Therriault's one-act FLOOR ABOVE THE ROOF was performed in Chicago in 1987 as a winner in the Great Chicago Playwrights Exposition at the Body Politic/Victory Gardens Theaters and in 1989 at the Henry Street Settlement Arts in New York City. His play SURPRISE PARTY (2018) is published by Per H. Lauke Verlag in Hamburg, Germany. Excerpts from BATTERY, THE WHITE DEATH and FLOOR ABOVE THE ROOF were published in 100 Monologues by Signet. An excerpt from BATTERY was selected for Solo! Best Monologues of the '80s by Applause Books. Therriault's 1992 radio play THE HITCH was chosen to initiate the “Radio Stage” series on WNYC, broadcast nationally on NPR, in Canada, Australia and broadcast in 2002 in translation on the German public-broadcasting radio station Westdeutscher Rundfunk. His radio play ROMANCE CONCERTO featuring David Strathairn was broadcast on WNYC and nationwide in April 1995. As a screenwriter, Therriault wrote the 1997 HBO film First Time Felon, starring Omar Epps and Delroy Lindo, and the 1999 HBO film Witness Protection, starring Oscar-winner Forest Whitaker and Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio (Golden Globe Award Nomination for Best Television Film). Therriault is an alumnus of New Dramatists, received a 1991 McKnight Foundation Artist Fellowship and residency at the Playwrights Center in Minneapolis, a residency at the Tyrone Guthrie Center in Ireland as an artist exchange with author Sebastian Barry, a residency at Robert Redford’s Sundance Institute PlayLabs and a Callaway Award for service to New Dramatists.

About the Book

Book Information

Publisher BPPI
Publication Date 12/19/2018
Pages 74
ISBN 9780881458190

Special Notes

Special Notes

Licensees are required to include the original stage producers credits in the following form on the title page in all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play and in all advertising in which the full cast appears in size of type not less than ten percent (10%) of the size of the title of the Play:

World Premiere at Kumu Kahua Theatre
in Honolulu, Hawaii, on 23 January 1986

The following must appear within all programs distributed in connection with performances of the Play:
The White Death is produced
by special arrangement with Broadway Play Publishing Inc, NYC