Sunday, July 24, 2011

There is no "Off-Stage" when you're performing in a Murder Mystery ;)


Performing in a play takes a lot of hardwork: 3-4 months of rehearsals, memorization of lines, finding your costume and creating your character.  However, with stage plays, you have the opportunity of running the same scenes over and over again until the actors are comfortable with the script and their fellow actors and the director is satisfied with their work.  Murder Mysteries are a COMPLETELY different ball game.

First, you get notice that a show has been booked approximately one month ahead of time.  The script is emailed out to you and you start learning your lines and creating your character at home and in your own time.  Depending on whether or not the actors have done the script before, there may not be a group rehearsal. There is no proper way to rehearse a Murder Mystery ahead of time because you cannot imagine, anticipate or plan for the type of audience you will have, the set up of the venue when you arrive or what topics will be discussed at your table. 

In Murder Mysteries, there is no "Off-Stage".  You arrive with the guests, you sit and eat at the table with the guests and you are not introduced as yourself until dessert.  Murder Mysteries are a great way for actors to develop and challenge their acting abilities.  An actor cannot simply take a break from being their character.  It is truly a wonderful experience to converse, argue and put guests on the spot (sometimes) as someone else.  There is only a few scenes that are scripted and the rest is completely improv'd on the spot by the actors.

There is so much opportunity for actors to play with and bring their own special touch to each character.  One actor may choose to play "the lawyer" as a sleezy character who hits on women and constantly slicks his hair back.  Another actor may take that same character and make him into a suave salesman who is always handing out his card and trying to sell his services.  Some actors may even choose to play this character as the strong silent type.  The limits are endless!

I personally do work as an actor with a local Murder Mystery company called "Murder for Hire" and we are always looking for more actors!  It is a lot of fun and all the actors are very supportive of each other.  We're like our own little family of business people, students, retirees, mothers, fathers, grandparents and children.  I would recommend that anyone involved with theatre as an actor or anyone who is serious about performing and wants to improve themselves, to consider auditioning for a Murder Mystery Troupe.  There is no better character development than having to play the same character for 1-3 hours without ever going "Off-Stage".

Check out Murder for Hire's website!!! : http://www.murderforhire.ca/