The Forensic Science Club at IUPUI held their annual Murder Mystery Dinner on Wednesday at 6 p.m. in the Campus Center. The club hosts the dinner every spring, and has been doing so for several years. Themes in previous years include Clue and Scooby-Doo.
The theme this year was Alice and Wonderland and featured familiar characters such as Alice, as well as generic characters like the Maid and the Cook. Guests who attended the event had to listen to the characters’ clues and suspicions to figure out which one of characters murdered Tweedledee. In reality, none of the characters knew who was the culprit. Only two of the Forensic Science Club members knew their identity.
The first hour of the Murder Mystery Dinner consisted of all the actors and guests eating. An announcement followed that Tweedledee had been murdered, and it was up to the guests to solve the murder. Tweedledee, who was the victim, and Tweedledum were both played by the same actor, Shaun Wan.
Following the announcement, club members pulled back the curtains around the crime scene to reveal Tweedledee on the ground, apparently killed by someone with a teapot. Guests were asked to examine the body and the crime scene, after which Wan switched characters and became Tweedledum.
He and the other actors proceeded to accuse each other of committing the crime. The dinner was slightly chaotic in the beginning as people tried to figure out who all the actors were, as some of them were only identified by name tags, while others were in full costume.
Everyone was given notebooks to record their findings. The guests were given the job of detectives, examining the crime scene and interviewing the various characters. Each character had a clue that pointed to the murderer and guests interviewed each character for further information.
Towards the end of the dinner, guests were asked to submit their answers. Two groups figured out who the killer was, and a tiebreaker was used to determine the winning group. The Rabbit had killed Tweedledee because he was dating the Maid, which interfered with the Rabbit’s three rules. Though his motive was not revealed until the end, the Rabbit repeatedly explained his rules throughout the night.
“I didn’t have any expectations, but I like it,” Jorge Cavell, a junior, said. “I just wish I could ask the right questions.”
Not all of the people who played characters were involved in the club. Some actors were recruited the day of the event. The Cook, played by Jacques Roettcher, was recruited five minutes prior to the event. Katherine Haskell, who played Alice, had never been a character in a murder mystery before this year’s dinner.
“Alice is one of my favorite stories,” Haskell, who is involved in the club, said. “Getting to play my childhood hero is great.”
Even the actors that were recruited at the last minute still enjoyed themselves.
“It was interesting because I had four and a half hours to prepare and I’ve never acted in anything before. I’m a very shy person, so playing someone so loud and mean was difficult,” Vittorina Kinney, who played the Queen of Hearts, said.
The event was open to everyone and people of all ages attended the event. The seating was limited, but there was a wait list and some guests showed up without previously registering. Some of the guests had never been to a murder mystery event before the Alice in Wonderland dinner.
“This dinner is a lot bigger than last year,” said Briana Sanguiliano, the club’s president. “Last year we only had people in a few tables.”
The murder mystery dinner is put on by the club just to have fun, not for fundraising or recruiting.
“It was a lot of fun sitting with the characters because when we were on break, we talked about all the weird rumors and questions people were asking us, most of which, we didn’t know the answers to,” Kinney said.