Monroe Township High School’s drama club, Footlights, presented “Technology of a Murder” on Thursday, January 18 and Friday, January 19, 2018 in the cafeteria.
The Murder Mystery Dinner is the second Footlights Club production of the school year. It is a pre-sale ticket event that includes dinner and a show.
Audience members are first served a three-course meal, consisting of salad, pasta, and cake by student waiters. After the dinner, a small cast of members of the Footlights Club performs a completely interactive and immersive murder mystery show. The characters move around the dining area and interact with the audience, including them in the overall story. The actors ask members of the audience to do a variety of different commands to aid the investigation.
At the end of the show, the audience is given a chance to ask the characters questions to solve the mystery. The last act of the show is then performed and the murderer is revealed.
The cast spent two months working with drama teacher Mr. Robert Byrnes learning and perfecting every line and action to provide a fun and engaging experience for the audience.
Sophomore Ava Friedman said, “It was definitely a super incredible experience. All nine of us were playing pretty embarrassing roles in one way or another and I think that’s what made it so much fun. To put yourself out there and be okay with embarrassing yourself in front of almost 200 people really helps raise self-confidence. Plus we’re all in it together, so none of us felt alone in putting ourselves out there and doing things that could be considered like a shock factor for the audience. It’s totally worth it hearing the audience laugh and enjoy what we put together.”
This year’s show was three acts and took the audience through the story behind important and expensive research on cloning. The stage was set as the audience was told they had been invited to a “banquet hall” to consider investing in brilliant new technology. Two characters, Delila and Richard, are revealing the greatest advancement in biotechnology ever made.
Throughout the night, the characters fight for the cylinder containing the valuable research on cloning. Brit (sophomore Max Simon), Richard (junior Cullen McKenna), Delila (senior Taylor Viana), Katrina (sophomore Ava Friedman), Wilbur (senior Brandon Simon), and Melody (junior Annabella D’Aversa) all bicker and steal from one another in an attempt to acquire the research.
Soon after, Pix (senior Michelle Hammond), a police deputy running for sheriff, arrives with her photographer, Connors (sophomore Cedrick Caballar) and police trainee, Felix (junior Richard Bouzane).
After the deputy arrives, Wilbur, the scientist behind the cloning research, is murdered. With Wilbur’s death, new secrets and lies are revealed. However, there is no evident cause of death. As several of his clones come to life, male and female, all played by Brandon Simon, they are all also killed. As the plot progresses, it is hard to say who could have done it because everyone seemed to have a motive.
At the end it is revealed that Wilbur and his clones were killed by poison transferred through the skin of both Melody and Delila. Upon discovering that Felix is also one of Wilbur’s clones, he inherits the research while Melody and Delila head to jail.
As the plot unfolded, there were numerous opportunities for the audience to interact in the show. They gave commands to Katrina, who was acting as a dog-human hybrid, flirted with the characters like Melody and Wilbur’s clones, posed for Pix’s campaign photos, and questioned the suspects. The show left many people laughing as all of Wilbur’s very different clones came to life and then died again.
Freshman Jillian O’Connell said, “I really liked it. My favorite character was the three that Brandon [Simon] played because they were all so different. It was very well put together.”
At the end of the night, three students were inducted into the International Thespian Society: senior Michelle Hammond, sophomore Ava Friedman, and senior and sound technician Michael Rucando.
If you attended, what was your favorite part of the show?