If you read my post from a couple days ago, you know that one of the things that kept me busy that week was the school play. I don’t teach drama, my responsibility went to the Stage Crew department, I’m in charge of the crew.
Our drama teacher is quite creative and came up with the idea of a Murder Mystery Dinner Theater for last week and this week, right before Halloween. One of the great things about the abominable building I teach in is that the cafeteria has it’s own small stage, which allowed us to present the play right inside the dining area.
The play takes place in 2010, this year, on a cruise ship named the S.S. Enchantment. As the guests enter the cafeteria, they are greeted by the captain, the cruise director and the servers offering h'ordeuvres and drinks (just water and lemonade, it is a junior high play after all) and welcomed to the ship. Once the guests are seated the play starts, the plot introduced and then dinner is served. During the dinner, the cast mingles with the guests, dropping hints and giving clues to what is going to happen. After dinner, the plot thickens, threats on life and limb are made and then we get another break for a game of bingo. During the bingo game, two of the characters are murdered and their bodies are set in strategic spots in the building. After bingo, the play resumes, the missing cast members are mentioned and foul play is implied. The remaining cast pairs off and each pair takes a table of guests and leads them through the building looking for clues, and finding the bodies. Everyone meets back in the cafeteria, the guests are given ballots to see if they figured out who killed who, and who has the cursed amulet (I’ll explain that in a second) and then the play goes on while the servers tally up the ballots. At the end the three guests who got the most correct answers get a prize, a 2” plastic sword.
The plot of the play is simple. Cruise ship director finds amulet, the captain reads the inscription (in French) on the back and a group of pirates who were cursed in the 1700’s are brought into 2010. Pirates take over the cruise ship, battle amongst themselves and in the end are, by the power of the amulet, sent back to the 1700’s.
The kids were fantastic, they and the play are entertaining and funny. The play requires them to improvise and they did quite good at that too. The actor playing “Salty Pierre” got quite a few laughs when the bingo spinner broke on him and he did a little improv thing about it.
The only bad part was when the drama teacher got a call from home right at the end of the first performance, with the news that her husband had had a heart attack and was in the hospital. Last thing I had heard was he was out of surgery and doing well, although she was not there for the second performance. Thanks to the PTA parents, the cast and the stage crew, all of who knew what needed to be done and did it well, the second performance went off virtually without a hitch.
We have two more performances, Tuesday and Wednesday this week and as of now I have no idea if the drama teacher will be there. It’s good to know that the PTA, cast and crew have their jobs down well enough that if she needs to be with her family, she won’t need to worry about the play.