Preparing For Murder

A gun, hat and murder mystery script.

Tonight we are holding a Murder Mystery at the Grand Harbour Hotel in Southampton. It’s our Little House of Horrors script which centres around the UK launch of a film that has done very well in America. The plot is a cross between a horror film and 50 Shades of Grey, so it fits in with current memes. I must remember to research whether 50 Shades has made it into America and whether it means anything over there.

The procedures of preparing are almost ritualistic. First the script and clues is changed to take into account the date. How many times have I done this now? Seeing the dates and places of the last performance of this script takes me back, this time to exactly a week ago – last Friday – at Syon Park south of London. Was that really only a week ago? That was an audience of 150 from Germany and other countries in Europe. After a slightly confusing start for them they warmed up and loved it. What a great way to learn more English.

I am convinced that one way of making a life seem as though it lasts longer is to fill it with experiences. There is a paradox; you do a lot of different things with different people at different locations and what what recent seems long ago while what was long ago often feels recent.

As well as the script costumes and props need to be prepared. My Trilby hat is starting to look well worn – how many times has that been worn to imply that the character is a gangster? Trilby hat, pinstripe suit and black and white brogues; what am I, some sort of cliché? Finally, there is the gun. Used rounds from the last event are removed and replaced with fresh ones. This is Gun 2 and it’s fresh and tight, whereas Gun 1 – the original – is now grey with gunpowder and much looser after a few hundred shows.

We’re ready to go. This is quite an enjoyable ritual and while I’m doing it I go through the script in my head. I expect that many actors have a ritual before their performance – the calm before the storm. Can I say ‘break a leg’ to myself?


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