Student production ‘The Murder Room’ completes successful run

February 13, 2017 — by Saya Sivaram

The last student production of the year, “The Murder Room,” completed its three-show run on Feb. 12, captivating audiences with its witty banter and complex mechanisms.

“The Murder Room,” directed by seniors Zach Grob-Lipkis and JT Hulme, followed the story of a disgruntled fortune hunter named Mavis, played by senior Saya Sivaram, who attempts to murder her husband Edgar, played by junior Mateusz Kranz. The murder-mystery farce goes on a windy trail as Mavis finds out that she actually failed to kill her husband and instead killed her cat and gave Edgar partial amnesia. The show’s defining feature is its quick, crisp line delivery and various comedic timings.

“The cast worked very hard to get their lines down and to create interesting characters,” Grob-Lipkis said. “Because of how ridiculous the show is, all of the actors really needed to work on creating larger than life characters, which they did really well.”

For Kranz, he had to do double the work, because he played two characters — Edgar and the inept police constable Abel. The two are opposites, the former being a posh, upper-class gentleman in his middle ages, and the latter being a goofy yet determined young man.

“It’s been really interesting to be able to play two characters in the play because of being able to construct the backgrounds and characteristics of both of them,” Kranz said. “Also, I had to wear a wig and a fake mustache while I was playing Edgar, so that took some getting used to.”

Aside from the often confusing and extremely convoluted plot, “The Murder Room” required several unusual set pieces, such as a window seat that turned into a secret passage and a portrait that acted as a booby trap. Senior Gaya Chatterjee, the technical director for the show, spent many hours devising plans for the mechanisms.

“This is a very technically intensive show, so you can imagine how hard Gaya worked,” Grob-Lipkis said. “I think my favorite part of the set is either the trap door window seat, which swings open to reveal a secret compartment, or the portrait that hung on the back wall.”

The portrait in question was supposed to be of Edgar’s former wife, one who died long before he married Mavis. However, to add to the farcical nature of the show, the directors dressed Kranz up as a woman with a blonde wig and very strong makeup and used a photograph of that as the portrait.

Many of the cast members concurred with Grob-Lipkis that it was their favorite part of the set.

The end of “The Murder Room” marks the beginning of the spring musical “Legally Blonde,” as all attention and energy can now be directed to that show. However, no matter how grand and impressive the main stage productions are, Kranz said that nothing can truly compare to the feeling of a student production.

“I love being able to do such a funny show with just my closest friends,” he said. “There’s really nothing that beats getting to spend all of your time with a such a small group of people who are so close. It’s almost like a cult, but not creepy.”


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