Originally published in Student Life.
All Student Theatre gathered for a performance this past Friday night. But, instead of a show they had rehearsed weeks for, the performance was acted out by the audience, as the nautical-themed murder mystery unfolded in three rooms in the Danforth University Center. The event is timed to get students in the Halloween spirit and to fundraise for their spring show, which will be “Expecting Isabel” this year.
Clad in outlandish costumes from ball gowns and crowns to a hole-filled jean jumpsuit, mystery-goers were cast into characters the night before. Through lengthy biographies and objectives that read like stage directions for each round of the night, the attendees became their characters over the course of the evening and investigated their fellow boat passengers as suspects, after character Candy Cann was killed.
“What I think is really fun about the murder mystery is that it’s like a one-hit wonder,” junior Kate Biddle, the organizer of the event, said. “It just has to work.”
All Student Theatre (AST) created the event two years ago to engage students in AST’s theater before their spring show. After the votes were cast and the murderer was revealed, AST announced that their spring show will be “Expecting Isabel,” a dramedy about a couple trying to have a child, and will be directed by senior Rose Shapiro.
The night started in the Orchid Room, where the audience mingled with fellow passengers and AST board members, dressed as boat crew. After the death of a showgirl character, the group moved to the Goldberg Formal Lounge, for more food and intense discussions and cross-examinations of the other characters. After the police character, played by Shapiro, announced additional evidence, the group moved to the Harvey Media Center, where the audience cast their votes on who the murderer was and then revealed the true culprit. Throughout the night, characters used fake money, distributed in envelopes at the beginning of the night, to bribe information from others in order to solve the puzzle.
Though they don’t get to act in the murder mystery, the AST members still get the thrill of the show during the course of the night, as they interact with the characters and manage behind-the-scenes work. At the end of the night, the audience members walked away with a better understanding of acting and one heck of a story to tell.