Featured (List) Features

SAB’s Murder Mystery Dinner: An Event to Die For

If you are a Monmouth student searching for an alibi on a Friday night, no matter the motive, the Student Activities Board (SAB) has you covered. On Friday, Jan. 26, Monmouth University’s Student Activities Board put on yet another to-die-for event. The 90s-themed Murder Mystery Dinner was a theater kid’s dream. With wacky costumes, punny names, and loads of interaction from the audience, the Murder Mystery Co. Troupe, the company hired for the night, killed it.

It was said to start at 6:30 p.m., but it was not even a quarter after 6:00 p.m. when actress Abby Batonis, who had portrayed a morally corrupt small-town mayor, came into the room in character and started violently shaking hands with students and thanking them for supporting her re-election campaign.
The other actresses were also all in costume from the very beginning. As they set up the tables in Anacon B, the actors placed sheets of paper with a Clue, which contained columns for suspects, motives, and notes for participants to fill out.

The actresses from the American Immersion Theater, which contained two assistant directors of the New York Troupe, left their mark on students with their wittiness and flexibility when things did not always go as planned.

Actresses portraying characters also gave some participating students binders, which contained a name tag so that they could be suspects in the murder mystery. The binders had 90s-themed props such as a black and white plaid vest with the Nirvana logo on the back, scripts, and bio information on the characters to be played by each participant. Throughout the night, numerous 90s references and themes came out in the conversations and scripts written for the suspects, such as Tamagotchi’s, pagers, the popularity of malls in the 90s, and the 90s sensation the Spice Girls.

SAB also provided takeaways including popular merchandise and goodies with the SAB logo, pizza, soda, and, of course, music in the background, which in this case was all 90s rock, like the band Cake’s song, “The Distance,” or Incubus’s, “Drive.” After all, it was important to stick with the theme of the night.
Student participants, both those who were acting as suspects and those who were not, worked together to collect clues and figure out who the killer was. Students used fake money to bribe suspects to gather information on themselves, other characters, and suspects. The mystery was narrated by the lead detective (played by Dani Letschi), whose astuteness as a character was only rivaled by Jacques Clouseau. But no matter, the investigation concluded, and no one needed a magnifying glass to see how good a time the actors and students were having.

Along with closing the case of the mystery murder, students were given award certificates at the end of the night, including best dressed, best actor, best actress, murder mystery detectives for those who guessed who the murderer was correctly, and my personal favorite that I just so happened to win “dead last place” for those of us whose detecting skills were completely off.

The two-hour event started with students in small groups, keeping to themselves, and ended with several of the thirty-some students who attended leaving together, exchanging information, and eventually, making connections.

With Character names like Mayor Maynot (Abby Botonis), who may have or may not have committed the murder; Barb E Girl (played by Natalie Osborne), who definitely lived in her own world and “Loves impulsive consumerism because it keeps her mind off the existential dread,” despite also believing that “There is no ethical consumerism under capitalism;” and Adrian Markee Carmichael (Sammi Price) a Brooklynite and mob-connected investor, as well suspect names like May Kiligan, Zip Yarmouth, and Posh Spice (yes, that one), it is fun and friendly not just for college students looking for a good event on campus but families who are looking at a PG event to take their kids to.

This event was for the less Rodney Dangerfield-esque students to check out if they want to get a clue into the mystery of the events on campus. “We just want everyone to have fun,” said actress Dani Letschi, who also played the Swedish investor Sven Doingreat.