Leg-warmers, Malls, and Murder: The SA Murder Mystery Event

By Megan Lanham



Picture this: The year is 1985. Real estate developer and “entrepreneur” Whit Wiley has just opened up his shiny new Wiley Waterside Galleria Mall in Malibu. About to top the charts of the most rich and powerful men of 1985, Whit Wiley had it pretty good. That is, until he found himself floating face down in his own mall’s fountain, strangled to death by his skinny tie. 

This is the beginning of Broadway’s Murder Mysteries’ plot to their kit, 80s Mall Murder Madness, a wacky way to spend an evening with people. This all starts out with characters being chosen for participants in the murdery mystery, which is split into three acts. Each character is given a script to follow with predetermined lines to respond to questions from another packet, though some improvisation is highly encouraged.  With each act, a new piece of evidence is brought forward via pictures and videos that come with the kit. By the end, the participants guess “whodunit” and all the characters give their final declaration to find out who is innocent and who is guilty.

During the investigation of the Murder Mystery Event, six culprits were suspected; Wilhelmina Wiley, Whit Wiley, Willow Wiley, Sam Goody, Betty Bangs and Fanny Paque, each with their own potential motives. Those are just six out of the twenty characters that are potential roles within the game. Thus, the stage is set for an evening of mystery and intrigue. 

This event took place on March 6, 2021, at 6 p.m. through a virtual event on Zoom and was hosted by Student Activities. Participants were encouraged to dress up in 80s themed costumes for the occasion. The event lasted about three hours and ended with awards being voted on for best acting, best dressed and best improv. 

As a personal participant in this event, playing the part of Wilhelmina, I can attest to it being a very enjoyable experience. If you are into improv, getting into costume and just all around having a good time, this kind of event would be for you. Events for Student Activities can be found on their Facebook page or under the organization’s tab on Blackboard.

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