BAR HARBOR — Intrigue, mystery, murder and time travel are just part of the bill at this weekend’s Murder Mystery Picnic performance at College of the Atlantic.
The audience-interactive play kicks off at 1 p.m. Sunday on COA’s front lawn. Guests can enjoy a beautiful picnic setting (blankets provided) and ample eats while they puzzle out the culprit in the student-led play.
“There’s no heavyweight in this performance. It’s just a lot of fun,” said writer/producer/director Lucille Jan-Turan. “It’s an easy way to be audience interactive. And it’s classic. It’s like a game of clue.”
The production is the first of Jan-Turan’s term with COA’s sustainable business hatchery program, a year-long course in which students take the reigns of their own startup ideas. Jan-Turan previously staged an interactive murder mystery at the Jesup Library in 2013.
What makes this production unique, she said, is that there is no script. Jan-Turan has met with each of her actors and talked about who their characters are, and the overarching plot of the play – but what each character says, and does, is going to be a surprise, even to her.
“I’ve taken part in shows structured like this, so I know it works. Although, it is very scary relying on actors who don’t have a script,” Jan-Turan said. “We’ve had no rehearsals, and there’s no formal dialogue.”
Seven College of the Atlantic students are taking part in the production, including Molly B. Samuels, Jonathan Harmor, Colin Lynch, Kendall Cook, Sophie Cameron, Thomas Strehan and Michael Santivasci. Jan-Turan has two roles in the play and also acts as host.
Funds raised by the production will benefit The Barn Arts Collective, an arts group based in Bass Harbor. Picnic blankets, sandwiches and some other food will be provided at no cost. Brown Family Farm proprietor Chris Brown will provide food for the event.
In case of inclement weather, the play will be staged on Sunday, May 24, at 1 p.m.