Amherst Magazine

Mystery Date

By Katherine Duke '05

Mr. Gads Improv Group
 At murder-mystery night, every character's a suspect.


Murder-mystery night is about to begin. This year, the annual performance by Mr. Gad’s House of Improv is titled “Till Death Do Us Part,” and it combines the fun of homicide with the horrors of searching for true love. The audience will participate in an evening of speed-dating with the characters, each played by a member of the troupe.

Clevus and Harley (Ben Schweizer ’09 and Bree Barton ’07) are the hosts, founders of matchmaking Website eCompromise.com. Inside Converse Hall, they show video clips introducing the “premium members”: Among them is Jean (Adam Alfandary ’10), a Frenchman who is bitterly divorced from Gwen (Bessie Young ’11). Art (Brian Lewis ’08) has a notebook filled with writings by extraterrestrials. Bobby (Justin Redfearn ’09) is an archeologist. Sasquatch (Andy Tew ’07) hails from the wilds of “Sasquatchewan.”

After the videos, the premium members are blindfolded and handcuffed together in couples, as per the rules of date night.

But wait! Someone is missing. Jean takes off his blindfold to find that his date, Nixie (Sarah Sligar ’10), is gone—only her severed hand remains in the cuff.

Suddenly, every character is a suspect.

As the night progresses, the audience learns that Gwen and Jean once had a son together, but gave him up for adoption. Also, Art’s notebook did not come from outer space at all; Sasquatch recognizes the chicken scratch as his own.

The audience now has serious work to do: talking to suspects, piecing together clues, writing down guesses as to whodunit and why. Sasquatch sits alone and looks upset, holding Nixie’s hand (just the hand). He really liked Nixie; she had been helping him finish his memoir.

Finally, Bobby gives an anguished confession: he murdered Nixie to stop her from publishing the memoir. It would have revealed that Bobby had killed Sasquatch’s only love—a world-famous dog from a TV show—in order to bury it and then dig up the bones.     

That actually makes as much sense as anything has tonight. One audience member has succeeded in cracking the case. He wins a toy gun.

For more about the characters and clues at "Till Death Do Us Part," see Duke's article in Campus Buzz.

Photo by Samuel Masinter '04