Remember a couple of months ago when I went to a terrible, terrible murder mystery? The event, which was held in Midtown, was the only thing I walked out of all year – and whenever anyone asked, I warned them never, ever to go.
Auntie Susie didn’t like that. My blog’s number #1 fan had read 300+ positive experiences by then, and it didn’t sit right with her that I hadn’t enjoyed something. So she resolved to help me have a much better time – and bought me a murder mystery kit for Christmas so I could try again. What a lovely thought, eh?
This weekend, I finally got around to it – although I admit I did absolutely nothing to organize it. Instead my friends Marie and J invited me, Ryan and Heather (as well as Erin, David and Matt) to their place in Red Hook in Brooklyn. We made vague attempts at costumes and walked in to find a bucket o’ beer, delicious cocktails, gorgeous guacamole and piles of quesadillas… so it was already off to a far better start than the murder mystery last year (when the caterers didn’t show up).
Marie assigned the characters and gave us each a booklet containing our corresponding backstory (to be kept to ourselves) and dialogue (to be shared with the group at the appropriate moments). Using these conversations and various bits of evidence that were revealed throughout the game, the aim was to figure out who had killed formerly successful actor Marco Poloneck and dumped his body in a restaurant owned by Marie and J’s characters.
The instructions were a little tricky – and took all eight of us to figure out – but we soon realized that as long as we kept our eyes on the booklets, we were semi safe.
My role, Bonnie Schott, was a jazz musician who owned her own bar near to the scene of the crime. She was a bit of a periphery character, but I enjoyed bringing out my plastic trumpet to tootle tunes to reflect the mood. Among the rest of the characters, there was some real scandal – affairs, secret babies and blackmail. Which gave me plenty of opportunities to get some emotive tunes in.
But my performance paled in comparison to the others’. Man, these guys are dramatic. Despite being set in London, J cracked out this amazing Italian-American tough guy thing and David wowed us with his spot-on improvisation. All while Marie clasped her chest, sobbed into her hands and generally owned the room.
After reading through the dialogue, revealing all the evidence and listening to the corresponding CD, it was up to us to guess who was the murderer. Rather than look at the evidence (which had just confused us), we considered who had the weakest alibi… and we guessed correctly.
This was so fun. It did take us a while to figure out what was going on, but once we got there, it was such a laugh – particularly because of the pretty dazzling performances from my fellow actors. While it probably wouldn’t be my first choice for a party activity, I will definitely be doing it again. And next time someone asks, I won’t be so quick to write off murder mystery nights.
So thank you, Auntie Susie. This really did the trick!
(You can buy the version of the game that we used here.)