Mystery dinner entertains students for Halloween

By John Del Sordo
November 4, 2004

With a turnout of over 100 students, this year’s murder mystery dinner was the largest it has ever been. The murder mystery dinner took place on Thursday, October 28th, in Cabrini College’s Mansion Dining Room and yet again proved to be an unique event that many students look forward to year after year.

The murder mystery dinner was organized by the Campus Activities Programming Board. CAP board members Annette Donato, and Kristen Traina, two relatively new members, were chosen to chair this event and spent several weeks in preparation for the sold-out audience. Donato, a freshman accounting major said, “I knew I wanted to get involved with CAP, but I never knew I would chair an event.” Traina, freshman, graphic design major said, “I had no idea what I was getting myself into at first, but I absolutely loved every moment of it.”

Due to minor problems at last years Halloween Trail, the CAP board decided for the safety of Cabrini College’s students, to cut all funding on the trail, and put more of their Halloween budget into the murder mystery dinner. Instead of the usual 50 people that are able to attend, it was decided that they were going to accommodate 100 students, nine actors, and one journalist for both dinner and entertainment. Although there was a high number of students attending, they still were able to prepare an elegant atmosphere and an all star buffet.

All 100 tickets for this event were sold within two days of sales. President of the CAP board, Michael J. Sofia said, “This year’s people could not wait to get their tickets.” The reason for the sold-out show was not the cheap, $2 ticket. Sofia, also a senior, political science major added, “This event is a tradition that students look forward to every year.”

The event started with 100 people sitting in anticipation in the Mansion’s dining room, eagerly awaiting the unique experience shortly ahead. With bass heavy sound effects reminiscent of the Halloween season bellowing through the dining hall, attendees chatted with each other as the hired actors casually took seats among them. Most students sat at the tables introducing themselves to the actors, others, enticed by the smell of the buffet, sat silently, thinking to themselves about how hungry they were.

After the up-scale dinner, the audience was told of the murder of Hal Capone, a prominent Gangster in 1928, Chicago. During prohibition, this time period was filled with bootlegging, gambling and prostitution, and many of the actors sitting among the audience embodied these themes in both fun and clever ways.

The actors really played their parts convincingly, and never once slipped out of their 1920s era personas. The actresses playing prostitutes made for especially interesting conversation, and in a few cases had female students in the job market sarcastically pondering the occupation.

Throughout the rest of the dinner, the actors continued to interact with different tables, giving out different clues until the audience was finally given enough to make a proper accusation for who killed Hal. The actors were hilarious, and included a machine gun toting prostitute/club owner, a wise cracking gambler, an Irishman wearing golf attire, and other slightly offbeat characters. Audience members were asked to sing, dance, and even kiss for clues. The clues, although designed with humor in mind, were quite detailed and helped give the audience a background for the characters. The audience was then given a “verdict sheet”, and asked to pick which actor they thought killed Hal, and the reason for the murder, either love, envy, revenge, greed, self-preservation, or fear of exposure.

Students had a great time picking out who killed Hal. The murder mystery dinner’s success can be largely attributed to the company that was hired by organizers to play the characters. Sarah Pizza, a sophomore, marketing major, said, “The company the college used was great. All the characters interacted very well with the audience making the experience feel very real.”

T.J. Crowthers, a sophomore, social work major said, “The best thing about the dinner was how the actors involved the whole audience, making them sing and dance for clues. I laughed a lot, and got really into figuring out who did it.”

What did the killer have to say for herself? “Silky” Adams, also known as Jill Weisberg said, “Murder mystery dinners are 75 percent improvisational. You are given a short description of the character, and then you just got to run wild with it.” Weisberg added, “If you were to not include the free baked ziti, the audience’s reaction was the best part for me.”

Posted to the web by Cecelia Francisco

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John Del Sordo

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