Murder and Moonlighting

14 10 2012

I spend many of my weekends lying in awkward positions in hotel function rooms while paying customers applaud, cheer and take my photograph.

No…get your mind out of the gutter, I work p/t for a Murder Mystery Company.

I have a low boredom threshold and limited funds in my bank account so this is a great way of keeping me entertained over the weekend and earning a little money to add to the “buy myself a house” fund.

I am booked for events throughout the year and each is hosted by about 6 actors who perform a mixture of rehearsed scenes, improvised dialogue with other cast members & interaction with audience members. The audience are usually members of the general public who want to try something a little different for a night out with their partner, birthday or hen party,  or simply an evening with their close friends; there are also some private events.

There are a large number of plots in circulation and the context and settings are as varied as weddings, Sci-Fi Concenvtions, boy band reunions, auditions for a new TV game show and even an anniversary event for a dating agency. The audience know this in advance and are given a rough brief about their role. They choose on the evening how much or how little they want to get involved.

As an actor it is a definitely a great way of working, although it is challenging. The main challenge is the amount of improvisation involved and the necessity to know the back story of the character we are playing and the relationship between each of the characters. As audience members can question us about absolutely anything there will usually be some irrelevant discrepany between the answers provided by cast members that can fixate an audience. On the weekends that my character meets some untimely end I can be waiting some time to be ‘discovered’ and can only hope its one of our audience members who finds me and not some poor unsuspecting cleaner. I have had audience members rummage hopefully through the contexts on my handbag looking in vain for ‘clues’ and even been followed to my room where a hopeful guest waited patiently outside hoping to learn something new. There can also be complications when other events are scheduled at the same time, such as a childs birthday party or wedding in the next room. I attended one event where a building was actually on fire over the road from the hotel.

I love participating in these events and working with the fantastic actors who make up the company. It is a fantastic ‘paid hobby’ and I often get to enjoy fantastic food during the course of the evening as well as the opportunity to stay at some really beautiful hotels. I have just completed my third consecutive weekend event and am feeling a little sleepy but its such fun when I am there. I have one more weekend to go and then I must give myself a bit of a break for a few weeks at least .

If you have never tried this sort of event – I would highly recommend it, just be very careful who you sit next to…




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