A student selected to have a named role in the murder mystery makes her way around the tables, dropping hints as to who the killer might be. Photo by Kristina Soetje.
Time and time again, tensions strike among the world’s most fortunate people. A scenario like this was seen last Thursday, when a Murder Mystery Party was held by SEB in the Skylight room, orchestrated by the members of the Baltimore Murder Mystery Company.
The setting of the party was a Billionaires’ Club masquerade ball, where the attendees were its billionaire members. The actors introduced the audience to the characters of the Club: maid Luna Tick, Billionaires’ Club president, Sal Fee and outsider, Jessica Flesher. Selected students in attendance played other characters such as Club Vice President Reginald Sawbucks and Sawbucks’ business partner, Beatrice Peacock, among many others. Many of the character names evoked zany puns and themes of wealth and murder.
Malik Jackson, a senior computer science major, played the character of Reginald Sawbucks. On being chosen, he said, he “was [talking] to one of the [company actors] and messing around” and suddenly he was given a hat, mask and binder to play his character. While he was nervous at first, once he saw the other student characters play their roles, he felt more at ease. Jackson was later awarded with a certificate for playing the role particularly well.
The masquerade began with a macabre game the Billionaires play called ‘Rich, Marry, Kill.’ Three students from the audience were chosen to play the ‘poor’ contestants subjected to the whims of the billionaires. The attendees were then asked to participate by voting who gets what option, and the investigation was kicked off with the bait and switch of having the self-made billionaire Sal Fee be killed instead.
There was one student character per table, giving each table access to one character’s clues and possible motives. The main event was divided by two investigation periods where the attendees had to gather clues from other characters by bribing them with the company’s play money. The interludes allowed for prop clues to be presented to all attendees for the eventual accusations every table needed to make. Attendees also learned of the extramarital affairs, betrayals, rivalries and true professions among the suspects throughout the event. At the end of the night, all tables needed to present a clear motive and opportunity for the character they accused. Both the “dead-last losers” and the winners with the most evidence were called out for their efforts.
Many students found the Murder Mystery Party enjoyable. For senior media and communications major, Swathi Prakash, her favorite part of the party was the appetizers. She found the bloody finger cookies “gruesome” and “almost realistic.”
The Murder Mystery Party provided the tropes associated with these gatherings such as the seemingly prime suspect, the character who knows all, a fly on the wall and the unexpected culprit with the quiet motive and opportunity to strike. Even so, the event allowed for students to practice their improvisation and investigative skills as they strolled around the room for clues to discover the killer.
More information about the Baltimore Murder Mystery Company can be found here: https://www.grimprov.com/