By: Brittany Payette
At 6 p.m. on Oct. 25 in the McCasland Ballroom, Cameron’s Programming Activities Council (PAC) hosted a murder mystery party titled Murder in Manhattan.
In this murder mystery, people got to choose who they wanted to be – an actor or an investigator.
The first act started at a party that Francis Fisk held to celebrate his business’s twenty-first anniversary. Numerous other guests attended the party, and lots of people had secrets they were hiding.
In the first act, the actors mingled with other actors while the investigators acted as silent observers who were trying to gain information about who was hiding secret murderous intentions. Lots of the guests had secrets to hide … But who was homicidal?
Some of the other party guests included Francis’s brothers Chester and Jonathan Fisk, the head of a fashion magazine Ashley LeBois and her older sister Helen, who is a designer, famous socialite Rose den Waldern, Grayson Kreig who used to be a famous rockstar, philanthropist Richard den Waldern, and businessman Zachary Wellington.
In the second act, the lights unexpectedly went out, and Francis Fisk, played by Angelica Martinez, was found stabbed to death once the lights returned.
Act two began, and the investigators were now allowed to interact with the party guests and could ask questions to try to ascertain who had killed Francis.
Freshman history major Julian Evacher played the role of Richard den Waldern and said that he came to the event because he thought the food would be good and that it would be an enjoyable way to pass the evening.
“Essentially, I’m a philanthropist with a just, sketchy way of engaging with the crowd,” Evacher said. “Engaging with everyone, getting their suspicion up, and trying to diffuse that was absolutely amazing.”
Evacher said he tried to portray Richard as an extremely friendly, but very suspicious person.
Sophomore English major Clara Williams said she wanted to come because a murder mystery party sounded intriguing to her.
“I love what the PAC always puts on,” she said. “It’s always really fun. But, also I wanted to come and just have some really fun times dressing up and being with my girls tonight and just having a girl’s night.”
Williams played the role of Zachary Wellington, who was a Fisk board member, an architect, a successful businessman from Chicago. He was also the murderer. She said playing the role of the killer was her favorite part of the event.
“(I was) just acting like a worrisome father who wants the best for (his) daughter and seeing if people would actually get that I am the murderer, so that was definitely the most fun part,” she said.
Williams said she took some acting classes previously, which helped her play her role at the party.
“I was still really nervous,” she said. “I just didn’t want people to pick up on it. So, I was like ‘nervouscited’ I call it.”
Williams said that Francis Frisk took Zachary’s business, which was Zachary’s motive for murder. He wanted revenge and was jealous of Francis, so he decided to kill Francis at the party. This was not the first time Zachary had killed someone either – he had killed his wife, who had planned on running off with their daughter.
Sophomore Family and Child Studies major Caryn Stringham organized the event, and she said that the original plan was to host a different Halloween event on a different date and time, but that date already had another event planned for that time.
“I had previously seen Murder Mystery parties on a campus event planning website,” Stringham said. “Another member of PAC’s executive board suggested that it could be a great replacement. It was a new, interesting, and themed idea, so we went with it.”
She said she spent some time doing research on possible story ideas for the murder mystery.
“(I was) looking for a storyline that seemed exciting, not too difficult, and that would accommodate a potentially large number of students,” Stringham said. “The last part was the most crucial, as the turnout for PAC events can fluctuate greatly depending on the day, time, weather, and type of event.
She said that much of the preparation for the party was spent on ways to create the atmosphere that felt like a murder mystery.
“We ordered decorations that fit the feel of a swanky New York cocktail party and catered the event to give it a higher-end feel. We also had to assemble, and organize each of the various printouts to ensure we were well-equipped.
Stringham said there are two more PAC events scheduled for this Fall semester: “Throwback Movie Night” on Nov. 9 “Winter Bingo” on Nov. 30.
For more information email the PAC at firstname.lastname@example.org.