The room goes black, leaving a dense moment of chaos. Then, a gunshot. When the light turns back on, a man is lying dead on the floor.
The Blackbox Theatre on the Mount Vernon Campus has been transformed into the interior of a Gothic Revival Mansion – a lounge, a study room, a kitchen and even a secret passageway – giving the 14th Grade Player’s rendition of “Clue” a mysterious aura with plenty of dark wit.
The play, based on the 1985 movie and Hasbro’s murder-mystery deduction board game, was chosen because of the film’s popularity with the director, Cameron Hopkins.
“When the show isn’t funny, it’s because you’re on the edge of your seat or startled,” Hopkins said. “It’s a show that has it all.”
The suspense sits beside comedy, from the clumsy Mr. Green to the sultry Miss Scarlet. In one scene, Miss Scarlet asks Mrs. White if she misses her late husband – to which Mrs. White replies, “Well, it’s a matter of life after death. Now that he’s dead I have a life.”
Many of the cast members share the same appreciation for the movie, such as junior Phil Anderson, who plays Wadsworth the butler. He said he auditioned because the movie is one of his top three favorites.
“I think its premise ages really well and that it speaks to the history of American sensationalism,” Hopkins said.
Set in 1954 New England at the peak of McCarthyism, “Clue” is the story of a group of strangers who were brought to a imposing mansion for seemingly no reason. There, they meet the house butler, Wadsworth, who gives each of the attendees a pseudonym to protect their identities.
Soon, Wadsworth reveals that they all have something in common, creating suspicions – and motives for murder – between the characters.
“You never know who did it until the end, and even then there are many possibilities for the ending,” Anderson said.
Anderson stressed that the play’s main purpose is to entertain. Clue doesn’t deliver a hefty message at the end, and the main themes of blackmail and sensationalism are tossed around humorously.
“I think it’s an audience pleaser. Just because it’s funny, it’s well written and also my co-workers are [some] of the most hilarious people in GW,” said Anderson.
“Clue” will run Thursday at 8 p.m. and Friday and Saturday at 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. at the Blackbox Theatre on the Mount Vernon Campus. Admission is a suggested donation of $5 by cash or GWorld.