The Monroe Township High School Drama club has been working day after day to perfect their annual performance of a “Murder Mystery Dinner Theater.” While the actors have much rehearsing to do, the cafeteria ladies have a contribution just as important on their plate, literally.
This dinner with a show is completely prepared by the cafeteria staff of the high school. Ticket sales are used as an estimation of the amount of pasta needed for the audience. Students that audition, but do not make the cut, are asked to be waiters. The waiter’s duty is to dress formally and serve pasta to the hungry crowd.
What some may find unusual is that the waiters never have an official rehearsal, and start working on opening night, due to the secretive nature of the Murder Mystery. The cast cannot say anything about their scripts, and the waiters are not allowed at practice on the slight chance one student may spoil the surprise.
Senior Miranda Crowley, member of the Thespian Honor Society, says, “I waitressed last year and it was a lot of fun to be involved with the show, but still get to sit in the audience and watch the mystery unfold.”
As the performance date inches closer, practice has been held every day of the week, starting on January 2. Some rehearsals were even held on Sundays. What these performers were not looking forward to is the infamous “Tech Week.”
Also known as “Hell Week,” these four days are comprised of dress rehearsals where all performers are equipped with microphones and run the show until director Robert Byrnes is comfortable with an audience watching. These preparations are very taxing on the actors because practices run from after school to almost 10:00 p.m.
Any performer has to memorize their lines, but these thespians also have to make sure they can improvise. Cast members must answer questions asked by the audience so those watching can try to solve the mystery presented before them. The actors have no way of knowing what the audience will ask, and must answer quickly and in character to keep the show running. With no break between school and rehearsal, the performers have no time to do any homework, unless they want to stay up until the next day.
Freshman Ava Friedman says, “Balancing rehearsal and all of the homework can be tiring. Regardless, it’s so worth it because it’s a ton of fun, and in the end I know it’s going to be a really awesome show.”
This year’s murder mystery will be held on January 19 and 20 at 6:00 p.m in the school cafeteria.