I have written previously about the need to develop and present murder mysteries through online applications, such as Zoom, in response to the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent lockdown. As of this post, we have produced 2 such mysteries and have more in the pipeline. These stories were designed for professional actors to perform, with a paying audience, mimicking the public mysteries we have provided for pubs, restaurants and similar venues. A lot of our business, however, comes from our adapting stories for private groups to perform on special occassions, such as hen parties and birthdays.
We were delighted to be asked recently to host an online private murder mystery for a birthday party, and look forward to adapting one of our existing plots for the virtual environment, as this means we can continue to keep two of our main strands of entertainment working whilst movement is curtailed.
Adapting a story for the online environment, isn’t a trivial matter. The physical distance between suspects and the fact that everyone is only seeing people via a computer screen, means that improvising speeches based upon instructions is much harder, so a more well-defined structure is required. This usually means that many of the interactions need to be scripted, and producing a script that lasts over an hour is a time-consuming process, even if the plot already exists. Our first private online mystery will adapt Malice in Wonderland for 12 guests plus the detective, which has the advantage that Lewis Carroll has already written much of the dialogue, which, with some tweaks, will provide a good foundation for the script.
There are other challenges associated with adapting this story; principally the fact that it originally featured a scavenger hunt for weapons, which is simply not possible in a story where the suspects are all in different physical locations. I have found a way to retain this aspect of the plot, whilst still keeping everything in the virtual environment, but there are sure to be other obstacles to be overcome with some of our other existing stories, but most things, with a little ingenuity and technical wizardry should be possible, and I look forward to turning more stories into online equivalents.
If you are at a bit of a loose end and planning to host a party, we’d love to help you put on a murder mystery, adapting the story to your guests and making it all possible via the Zoom platform. If this appeals to you, please do get in touch and we advise you on what would work best for you.