RHA hosts “Murder Mystery Masquerade”

By Tristan E. M. Leach

With bated breath, the audience waited for the detective to reveal the murderer. Heads turned from suspect to suspect as anticipation began to build. As he brought the microphone to his lips with a sharp inhale, the story was about to unravel. 

On March 1, the Residence Hall Association and the Office of Campus Life hosted “Murder Mystery Masquerade,” an interactive performance that allowed students to step into a world of money, scandal and murder. RHA and OCL brought in The Murder Mystery Co., who wrote the story and provided costumes, props and a killer time. 

Before the story began, audience members were assigned characters to play. Among these characters were a wealthy Dr. Feelgood, a doctor who was afraid of dead bodies; Ella Vador, a journalist with a love for gossip as well as Mort and Bertha Peacock, a bickering couple with marital secrets.  

Four actors from the company joined the cast, playing Sal Fee, an egotistical billionaire app developer; Maid Lunatic, the head maid; Enrique Estrada, a handsome ladies’ man; Reed Diculous, the jilted ex-roommate of Fee and Detective Pe Ness, a foul-mouthed detective determined to solve the case played by the same actor as the night’s murder victim. 

The story began in The Billionaires Club, a club for the extravagantly wealthy and powerful. Fee started the night of entertainment with an introduction of himself and bragged about his wealth, looks and the app he created. His self-righteous attitude is what would get Fee killed. With a swaggering step, Fee crashed to the floor in front of the audience, eliciting the terrified scream of Maid Lunatic. 

Now it was time for the audience to participate and for the student actors to play their parts. Team members asked questions and actors exchanged fake money for information that may be valuable to solve the mystery. 

Among the student actors were Emma Poeckh and Yanira Crawford, both junior graphic design majors. Crawford played Jessica, a mysterious insurance adjuster. Poeckh played Reginald Sawbucks, an extremely wealthy man who lost the bid for president of The Billionaires Club to Fee. Both came to the event for a night of fun and found themselves being selected to play parts. 

Crawford said, “I thought [the event] was cute and I thought it would be fun to get dressed up and wear a mask.” 

Crawford and Poeckh, both transfer students attended the event to see what RHA and other groups on campus do. 

After audience members and actors spent some time investigating among themselves, Detective Pe Ness made his way into the room. Ness questioned each suspect and searched for clues that the others might have missed. 

Students mingle amongst each other to ask questions about the murder. Photos Courtesy of Maggie Klenier/The Rider News.

Truths were revealed that kept audience members on their toes and second-guessing everything they thought they knew. One of the most shocking truths was that Bertha and Fee were having an affair. 

For the next hour, secrets, clues and lies were spread. One by one, Ness dismissed each suspect from the last official line of questioning. From here, it was up to the audience to vote on who the murderer was out of 10 suspects. If just one group, determined by which table guests sat at, could guess the murderer right, then the murderer would not get away with it. 

While the groups debated who the killer could be, some certificates were handed out. The students who played Mort and Bertha Peacock won best actors of the evening. The RHA group won an award for the “stupidest guess”  as to who the murderer was, RHA guessed Juan Tidmam, the butler of The Billionaire’s Club.

No group correctly guessed the culprit, leading Ella Vador to get away with murder. Vador’s motive stemmed from Fee trying to ruin her journalistic integrity when it was revealed that she was also a cheater like the men she exposed. 

 Brianna Mall, a freshman arts and entertainment industries management major, played Ella Vador. Mall works with RHA as a representative for Switlik Hall. 

“[Acting] was really fun. Steve [Carmona], who decided to give me the role last minute, and then everything worked out in my favor,” said Mall with a chuckle. 

The night ended with a thank you and bow from the actors. Students and actors mingled, talking amongst themselves and chattering about how the event had gone. 

Steven Carmona, a graduate student in the organizational leadership program, is one of the graduate advisers for RHA. 

Carmona said, “[The event] went really well. I got to step out of my comfort zone and play a role. I created a character for myself … the [ditzy] little blonde one.” 

It is nights like these that keep the actors of The Murder Mystery Co. coming back to perform. Charlene Baquero, played Maid Lunatic. Baquero expressed her joy at getting to bring fun and mystery to people’s lives. 

As students trickled out of the room a sense of joy hung in the air, marking another successful event for RHA.  

Detective Pe Ness (far right) interviews a suspect. Photos Courtesy of Maggie Klenier/The Rider News.

Related Articles

Back to top button