Mystery Dinner Theatre cast gives a killer performance

Noah Varav, senior and student director, reads over the script home to wildly imaginative characters like Victor Frankenstein, Victoria Frankenstein, Nora Desdemona, Marcel Marcelle and many others while visualizing the set of the theater program’s annual Mystery Dinner Theatre.

The theater program invited students and the community to join them in investigating and solving their own mystery on Feb. 9 and 10 during the student-run show. The play is written and directed by Varav and is put on by the theater department and allows student actors to engage with the audience.

The show began at 6 p.m. as the audience filled the cafeteria and the actors took on their personas for the night. As they walked into the cafeteria, Varav chose one lucky member of the audience to take on the role of Dr. Ruth.

“The first night I chose Mr. Johnson and the second night I chose my uncle. Both were really good sports. Anyway, Dr. Ruth ended up being implicated in the murder so they actually got to become a part in the show,” Varav said.

Encouraged by his involvement in the theater program Charles Ocampo, junior, attended the mystery dinner to cheer on his friends participating in the show.

“From the moment you step in members of the cast greet you, in character mind you, and they escort you to their table,” Ocampo said. “Throughout the show they’re improving as their character, talking to you.”

Long before the show could actually begin, there was preparation to be done. The process of putting on the collaborative show would start in the summer and take the work of the cast, technical crew and the production team.

“So first I had to read the script, which I got over summer, and start trying to visualize what I want the set to look like. Then I had to make sure I cast the best people for the roles because every single character is vital, and everyone needs to be able to improvise along with memorizing a large amount of lines in a short time period,” Varav said.

“It’s really collaborative, and we debate what we think would most benefit the show. I also have to coordinate with the boosters to make sure we’re on the same page with publicity. There’s a lot of moving parts, but it turned out fantastic,” Varav added.

The show begins as Victor Frankenstein VII hosts the annual convention known as the Multinational Association of Deranged Scientists. The plot begins to develop as film star Nora Desdemona and her hairdresser Marcel Marcelle hit Lawrence Talbot, werewolf, with her Buick Riviera, which precedes a night full of head turning accusations and mystery.

Angelina Folino, junior, played the role of forensic pathologist, Victoria Frankenstein. She described her initial interest in the script. “I think acting and improvising especially is tons of fun. The show has aspects where the cast can interact with the audience, which made it special,” Folino said.

Audience interaction played a vital role in the night and the cast made an effort to constantly involve them throughout the show.

“Our main focus was to keep the audience involved, interested, & to raise their energy because their energy deciphered how well the show went,” Folino added.

Having sold 105 tickets throughout the two showings, the show helped the theater department raise money.

“I definitely recommend students go see shows like the Mystery Dinner Theatre. You get to eat and interact with actors while watching the show! It’s not like any other theatre event at NPHS,” Ocampo said.