Manitoulin Secondary to host murder mystery fundraiser

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M’CHIGEENG – Many murderous miscreants are seated within Manitoulin Secondary School (MSS) and it’s up to two expert groups of dinner party guests to crack the code and determine who at the head dining table is responsible for a dastardly crime. Will you, dear reader, be the one to get to the bottom of this case?

MSS is hosting Café Murder: Mystery Dinner Theatre on the evenings of Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26. These dramatic dining dates are the first-ever murder mystery dinner theatre productions in MSS history and all the proceeds will go to support the upcoming production of ‘Bye Bye Birdie’ that was announced in Expositor correspondent Rachael Orford’s Kids in the Halls column last week.

“This is the first time we’ve ever done this. We had a conversation and thought about what would be a fun fundraiser we could do to help promote this year’s musical and we came up with this murder mystery dinner concept,” said MSS teacher Michael Zegil.

Although Mr. Zegil’s background is more rooted in leading courses in the areas of mathematics and science, he directed last year’s production of ‘The Mikado’ and has since taken up teaching some drama classes at MSS. In short, directing this murder mystery dinner theatre production furthers his switch from maths instruction to mass destruction.

The idea of having this production as a fundraiser first surfaced in June of the previous school year and has been moved into high gear since the start of the school year. Regular practices began a few weeks back.

“Some of us had attended murder mystery dinner theatres in other cities,” said Mr. Zegil. “They’re always a good time and we thought it was something we would be able to pull off. The nice thing is the audience participation and interaction which makes it more fun, rather than just a staged performance.”

The play takes place in an upscale eatery in modern times. A calamity occurs and pins all members of the head table and the staff as suspects. As the evening unfolds, the characters will visit the tables around the room and diners will attempt to extract clues from their back stories.

The tight timeframe meant that having current students master their lines in addition to adjusting to the new school year did not make the most sense, so the planners took a different route. For this fundraiser in support of the MSS drama program, several drama-involved MSS graduates of the past six years are returning to the stage as actors in the program.

This will be an opportunity to see several student alumni and former teaching staff perform alongside current teachers Alison Orford, Angela Johnston, Casey Boisvert, Jill Ferguson and Mr. Zegil for the main event.

No murder mystery dinner theatre production would be complete without an excellent food spread. Mr. Zegil said the team had sourced impeccable lasagna from the Caruso Club in Sudbury and that they will be preparing salads and rolls in house. Dessert will be chocolate tarts made by Gore Bay’s Lisabeth Flanagan of Ultimately Chocolate.

“We just want people to have a good time and get them reacquainted with the dramatic community we’re trying to build here at MSS. We have a history of musicals now,” said Mr. Zegil. “It helps to have audiences that think of you fondly. And the more we put ourselves out there, the more people will start seeing MSS for the creative community it is.”

There is a limited amount of tickets available for this event and all spaces are by reservation only. To secure a seat at the dining table, contact teacher Yana Bauer at 705-348-2340, through Facebook or bauery@rscloud.ca. Tickets are $25 for the production which starts at 6:30 pm on both Friday, October 25 and Saturday, October 26. Anyone with dietary restrictions should check ahead for availability.