Chicken With A Side of Murder

TO FRIENDS, FAMILY, AND SOON TO BE FAMILY: Mason McWherter (‘22) welcomes the guests to his distinguished house with a toast.

Ainsley Schwalbe, Editor-in-Chief

After an exciting return to the stage, South High Drama has decided to round out the year with an unprecedented third show. This interactive murder mystery begins with a short scene which introduces the suspects and potential motives, which is followed by an opportunity for each audience member to ask questions to the various characters to try to piece together the mystery. In partnership with Chef Newport and the culinary students, food will be provided for all guests to complete the dinner theater vibe of this performance. 

This production has provided many new opportunities for everyone in the drama program. The script itself was conceptualized by senior Asher Huth, and was written together with Alex Lopez (‘23) and Paige Benish (‘24).“This family is having a proposal dinner for one of their sons, and somebody dies, unfortunately, and then the audience has to figure out whodunnit,” said Huth. 

The idea, which came from a quarantine summer DnD campaign, evolved to include many more details in the opening scene to give background for the audience for this particular show. 

“I had to figure out all the details, rather than… I was here at this time. It was, okay, everybody is in this room, some people left to go do this. Figuring all that out specifically was kind of difficult and then also, figuring out the relationships between all the characters together, but also with the deceased,” said Huth. 

This show also presents a new challenge for even seasoned members in the South High Drama program. The audience has an opportunity to ask the characters unscripted questions that the actors must then respond to. To prepare for this, the actors got to ask Huth about the backgrounds of their respective characters to learn all about motives, relationships and more. Additionally, practices have begun to include short improv sessions where the actors ask potential questions, although these practices are only a slight picture into what the audience may ask. These improv sessions have been combined with the traditional running of lines and blocking. 

These practice sessions may seem daunting, especially for an actor in their first production. However, senior Slater Gutierrez is finding ways to manage and find acceptance within the theater community. 

“I always shied away from theater in the past because I convinced myself it would be too hard but it’s fun! My favorite part of the process currently is getting the emotion in the lines. It’s really easy to say a line, but to feel it is something different. So far, it’s shattered some expectations! I was expecting pain and folly, but it’s been pretty good! Challenging yet rewarding,” said Gutierrez.  

For third year actor Mason McWherter (‘22), this type of show also provides new experiences. 

“It’s a concept I’ve never heard of before, at least something I’ve never seen done before in a way like this. I think it’s really interesting to be a part of, especially the newer aspects we bring to the table. I didn’t expect the audience to be included in the show but it adds layers to the show I haven’t seen before. I really enjoy it,” said McWherter. 

The show, which has practices twice a week, is scheduled to perform an evening show on Saturday, May 21st and an afternoon show on Sunday, May 22nd. The sixty available seats had sold out by Monday, May 9th. 

IT’S LIKE A MURDER MYSTERY! Abby Wetzel’s “Erica” is a little too excited after a death in the family allows her to draw on all the knowledge she has gained from murder mystery podcasts. Axel (Liz Murphy, ‘22) and Wren (Slater Gutierrez, ‘22) aren’t too thrilled with this cheery approach to the murder.
BRO HUG TIME: Wren, played by Slater Gutierrez (‘22) proposes to Abby Wetzel (‘23). The two then celebrate their engagement with a bro hug, which wasn’t in the original script, but the idea has grown on Ms. Grabow.
TWO TO TANGO: Theo, played by Alex Lopez (‘23) tangos with Damien, the butler, played by Carson Keller (‘24) to ease Theo’s worries about some tense family matters.