Written by Walter L. Johnson II
You’ve heard of “dinner and a movie.” What about “dinner and a play?”
That’s what Darton College will provide on Feb. 10 and 11, when the Darton Players present the Boardwalk Melody Hour Murders dinner theatre on the second floor of the Student Center.
Deborah Liss-Green, who serves as Darton’s theatre instructor, says a dinner theatre is meant to be interactive, as well as entertaining.
“The audience, and they become sort of, as they were the extras on a movie set, they become a part of the scene,” Liss-Green said. “The play takes place in a banquet hall that’s upstairs in the Student Center.
“The action will take place on the stage in the middle of all of the tables, as well as in and around the tables where the audience is seated,” Liss-Green added.
Attendees will not only get a good meal, but also good entertainment, explained Liss-Green.
“There will be scenes with about 15-20 minutes long that come in between the different meal breaks. So, you get dinner, and you get a show.”
Lot a tension, and fun
Unlike many dramatic-based murder mysteries, the Boardwalk Melody Hour Murders is a comic-based murder mystery, which is set in 1932 Atlantic City, N.J. During the showings on both nights, there will be at least one kidnapping, as well as one murder.
Despite some tense moments, though, Liss-Green says there’s an element of fun added to the production.
“There is some tension in the play,” said Liss-Green. “Murders happen right in front of you, and kind of scary moments.
“But overall, the tone of the production is light, and it’s a lot of fun.”
More than just laughs
Beyond just simply getting in a few laughs during the dinner theatre, the attendees who purchase tickets will be helping to fund scholarships for Darton’s humanities program, Liss-Green said.
“First, we hope they will be entertained, secondly, they know that by buying a ticket, they’re supporting the scholarship program that they have here at the humanities division for our students.
“Our dinner theatre is a fund raiser through the Darton College Foundation, and the humanities division, to raise money for scholarships in the (humanities) division, so they’ll be doing good, and having a good time.”
Broad and outrageous characters
When trying to know the difference between a comic murder mystery, and the more dramatic murder mystery, people must go beyond the ordinary in terms of how the characters are presented, Liss-Green explained.
“The characters are kind of broad and outrageous silly, funny, as opposed to being deftly serious.”
As one of the cast members, sophomore theatre major Erin Baty sees thinks participating in the dinner theatre production will provide for a lot of intrigue, not to mention some suspense.
“The show is full of twists, turns, and surprises, and it’s action-packed,” Baty said. “If the food isn’t delightful, the acting will be.”
Portraying Trixie Callahan-Bambino in the play, Abby Evans says she fell into acting almost by accident, despite having not yet declared a major.
“Acting was just something I was interested in, so I just took a class, and really liked it,” Evans said. “So, I’m just taking more theatre classes this semester.”
The deadline to order tickets for the dinner theatre is Friday. They cost $25 for students, $50 for adults, and $350 for a table of eight.
For more information about the dinner theatre production, or to order tickets, call (229) 317-6554.