Although the big fall play finished a couple of weeks ago, the semester was not over for the theatre department. As a member and president of Erskine’s Alpha Psi Omega – a national honorary fraternity for theatre – I get to be involved in planning and carrying out other theatrical events in addition to plays. This past week, for example, Alpha Psi Omega hosted a self-created murder mystery, the first ever edition of Clue: Erskine Edition.
Since the beginning of the semester the seven of us members have been planning this event, which is more complicated than you might think. Luckily, one of our members, Bryce, took a class on detective fiction last J-term, so he took the lead in putting together the mystery. We had to start by figuring out how to structure the game, give clues, and all the details of location, date, etc. We ended up using many of the ideas of the game to set it up, as well as taking some from the Clue movie.
We set up six of the classic rooms from the board game in the areas surrounding Lesesne auditorium – the ballroom, study, lounge, library, dining room, and billiard room – and hid five of the six weapons throughout the rooms (the missing one being the murder weapon). We had the six participating teams of students rotate throughout the six rooms, interviewing the six suspects who were stationed one in each room. We also had clues hidden in the rooms, and through the interrogations of the characters the teams gained information to help them find the killer.
Six of the seven Alpha Psi Omega members played the main characters, the seventh being the butler (of course!). We all dressed in black with accents of our color; I, for example, was the flighty and affluent Mrs. Peacock, and wore a blue hat and scarf over my black dress, along with some peacock feather earrings that I borrowed from a friend. We also enlisted the help of five other members of the theatre department to play characters such as Mr. Boddy, the maid, the cook, etc. All of us adopted ridiculous, melodramatic characteristics, playing up our roles to make it more fun. We had an opening skit to introduce all of the characters and the plot, and after a group had submitted the correct suspect, weapon, and room of the murder, we closed with a dramatic final scene and awarded the prize money.
Overall it was a great experience; though there were difficulties in working out some of the logistics, we all greatly enjoyed it – both the actors and the participants. It went over so well that many students have said they would love to play again, so we hope to do a sequel in the spring!