Students stepped into the roles of shady characters from brawling families as part of a murder mystery game at Stony Brook University’s Murder Mystery Weekend.
In the story, the wedding of Becky Giovanni, the wealthy daughter of a mob boss, and Stanley Simpson, is meant to be a day of celebration. Yet, many negative factors impact the affair, including familial resentment of the marriage, greedy family members looking to get their hands on the couple’s fortune and a guest with a motive to kill.
The idea of the game was for the performers, who were also playing the game, to bribe each other with imaginary money in order to acquire information on the case and solve the mystery. Each performer was provided with an envelope with details about their character’s life and with a few containing secrets to allow some guests to blackmail other players.
“This is my third year taking part,” said Lauren Baker, who played the bride’s sister. “I’ve had so much fun, and you always meet new people. It’s always a good time.”
Sophia Pierre-Antoine, who played the newlywed bride, was amused by her character’s personality and expressed excitement over her untimely death.
“I’m the biggest bridezilla ever,” she said. “I think I’m the center of the universe. I’ve never been the dead person before, even though I’ve participated in the past years. It’s exciting, and I feel powerful.”
“The people for the event are concerned for their community,” said Steve Martinez, who played the groom’s father, Hugh Simpson. “They want to reach out and give them social options. It’s just something to get people together and broaden their horizons in regards to meeting new people.”
Eventually, all the evidence is laid out for the players: A will, a life insurance policy, letters, honeymoon tickets and a picture of a handgun.
Contemplating the evidence, the guests write down who they think killed the bride. Finally, the murder’s identity is revealed. It was Brutus Simpson who killed his sister-in-law for the sole purpose of taking her place on the honeymoon with his brother.
“It’s an interesting feeling because you know the whole time who the murderer is,” said Nicholas Ela, who played Brutus Simpson. “You need to spend the whole time thinking of ways to put the blame on people. You don’t want them to think it’s you.”
Stony Brook’s Weekend Life Council organized the event, which was held on Saturday, February 25th. Hostess Francheska Jimenez said she was inspired to form the event after attending a similar one last year.
“The theme was the 20s,” she said. “It was like being in a whole different world, and I had so much fun at that event. I pretty much wanted to represent something like that for people to get a chance to do it too. They get a chance to step out of their shoes and try something new.”
Lauren Baker and Brenton Murphy tied for best dressed and most dramatic, and Michael Harooni won for collecting the most money. Five winners tied for the Mystery Solving Prize.
“I was surprised that I was one of the few who got it right,” said Meghan Paquette, who played the groom’s friend. “And I was just excited that I actually put all the pieces together.”