On Friday, Oct. 5, ETSU’s Buctainment presented a lively murder-mystery show featuring comedians from the group “THEY improv.”
The four actors set the stage: 1920s Johnson City, a party celebrating the numerically impossible landslide election of the town’s new alderman, who won 6,000 votes out of the town’s 2,000 voters, with some outside gang-related help.
Key attendees included the man of the hour himself, his wife Dorothy and the mob leaders of the Southside and the Northside gangs. The audience acted as additional party-goers, separated into their respective mobs. From here, as guests intermingled, the night took a turn for the worst. The alderman made a toast to his new career then went to sleep with the fishes.
The alderman’s death was surrounded with suspicion, regarded a cold-blooded murder by the police chief, who then charged the audience to question suspects in order to get to the bottom of this mystery.
As the night went on, attendees were split into groups and given the opportunity to speak to each suspect. They soon narrowed it down to either the power-hungry wife, the love-struck Northside mobster or the dimwitted Southside gangster. Motives and weapons were soon brought to light, and the murderer was caught red handed by the evening’s end.
The true fun from attending the show came from the actors’ ability to roll with the punches. They answered any question, remained in character and interacted with everyone in attendance. Some people in the crowd were even accused of being the killer themselves.
“My favorite part of tonight was the interrogation and getting to know all of the actors,” audience member Rose Minton said.
THEY improv is directed by Todd Rice, the actor who played both the alderman and the police chief.
“Meeting new people from different backgrounds is great,” Todd said. “I try to leave any place I go a little better from when I got there.”
Based on the audience’s ongoing laughter, Rice certainly met his goal.
Buctainment member Courtney Fitstevens who headed the event plans on promoting more interaction-based shows like this one in the future after such a successful experience.