Murder Mystery at the Alchemist Theatre

Artistic Director Aaron Kopec has created a creepy, roam-about experience for the Alchemist's annual Halloween show, and this time you will determine who-dun-it.

By - Oct 2nd, 2013 12:39 am
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Artistic Director Aaron Kopec shares his thoughts on "Closing Night"

Artistic Director Aaron Kopec shares his thoughts on his original murder mystery play, “Closing Night.”

Despite the near-80-degree weather of late, we can all feel that fall-ness in the air. The leaves are changing, Oktoberfest brews have hit the shelves, orange pumpkins dot the roadside farmland…and the Alchemist Theatre is premiering its Halloween show.

After creating an original Alchemist Halloween show for the stage last year, artistic director Aaron Kopec decided to forego the traditional sit-and-watch format for an interactive murder mystery experience.

Closing Night will have the same roam-as-you-may freedom as 2011’s Faust, but it won’t be open-ended. A cast of 11 will perform throughout the theater, creating a broken narrative that you must piece together. There is a conclusion to be drawn, and you will be the one to discover it.

“I love murder mysteries,” said Kopec, “there’s a certain amount that’s wacky and fun. Mostly I wanted to give the audience that opportunity to move around—to discover secret passages, to find a candlestick that serves as a clue, or whatever—it’s exciting to imagine where the audience will wander.”

The Alchemist Theatre serves this purpose well, with plenty of hallways and corners and nooks and crannies to investigate. Almost all of the interactive set—trap doors, décor, general mayhem—was built by Kopec.

“There is something to be said for having an audience in one place, looking at a stage, telling them what to see,” said Kopec, “but this is more of a challenge for me and for them. Even if you don’t like the puzzle, there is a sense of adventure present that we often don’t get as adults. Here’s a whole new world to explore, and there’s no wrong way to go about it.”

To be clear, Kopec isn’t a fan of haunted house scares—no one’s going to pop out from behind a door and scare the crap out of you (unless you go with your dad or your weird friend and they think that sort of thing is funny).

“There’s a difference between being startled and being scared,” said Kopec. “It isn’t even horrific, really. The thrill you get is from the exploration.”

You’re encouraged to bring friends, but you may certainly explore Closing Night on your own. Prizes will be awarded each night to the person who most accurately weaves the mystery together. This isn’t dinner theater, but there will be light snacks and mocktails served (you can spike them for $2), included in the ticket price. The season is upon us, MKE. Embrace it.

Closing Night premieres tomorrow night, Thursday, Oct. 3 at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View and runs through Nov. 2. Tickets ($25) can be purchased online, or at the door as available.

Categories: Theater

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