Ninth Grade Academy presents murder-mystery ‘whodunnit’

Craven: Students ‘love that forensics stuff’

By Kevin Spradlin
PeeDeePost.com

Video presentation: Part OneTwoThreeFourFiveSixSevenEightNine1011

HAMLET — Students of Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy on Wednesday evening staged “I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning,” an interactive murder-mystery theater dinner show inside the school gymnasium.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Society columnist Mary Burger, played by Brianna McGuire, right, asks the difficult questions of Detective Parker, played by Jessica Kaulfers. Parker was assigned to damage control in the event something bad happened.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Society columnist Mary Burger, played by Brianna McGuire, right, asks the difficult questions of Detective Parker, played by Jessica Kaulfers. Parker was assigned to damage control in the event something bad happened.

Teacher Terry Craven said the comedy, written by Lee Mueller, was a collaboration between the school’s new Teen Scene Investigation club, the drama club and the student tech group. The program was made possible in part by a Bright Ideas grant from Pee Dee Electric.

The plot centered around a wedding reception for bride Brenda Anne Marie, played by Maggi Chambers. She marries Edward Crock, played by Nic Wilkes. The intrigue begins when Brenda Anne Marie throws her garter to a group of single men and one man, Al P. Throckmorton, played by Jaquann Smith, falls dead from an apparent gunshot wound.

Only, Detective Parker is hesitant to call it a gunshot wound. Instead, Parker, hired as damage control to whatever event the rich Harold Montague, father of the bride played by Jahmal Wray, labels the shooting as an “act of randomness.”

This conclusion puts society columnist Mary Burger, played by Brianna McGuire, in a tizzy. Burger “I have a press pass and I’m not afraid to use it” simply won’t back down from Parker’s intimidation. And much as he might try, Crock is absolutely no help in determining from which direction the bullet was fired.

Regardless, the murder isn’t intended to stop the party. It’s announced that the father-daughter dance will proceed but someone does inquire if someone could “get this dead guy off the floor.”

At one particular moment, the investigation stalls and all seems left to the reception disc jockey, played by Cameron Herring. Herring approaches the mic:

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Jahmal Wray plays Harold Montague, father of bride Brenda Anne Marie, played by Maggi Chambers.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Jahmal Wray plays Harold Montague, father of bride Brenda Anne Marie, played by Maggi Chambers.

“Would the killer please turn himself in?”

No one does, of course, and chaos ensues. Burger now demands an investigation but Parker continues to stall. She says an investigation could take hours.

Does anyone in the audience, she asks, “really want to stay here that long?”

Burger’s on a mission and continues to press Montague for more information anytime Parker isn’t around. Montague finally admits that it was Throckmorton who might have had the business idea that made Montague rich.

Montague is asked if he compensated Throckmorton. Montague replies with a Clintonesque answer: “Define compensate,” he said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Maid of Honor Bunny Kelly, played by Hannah Altman, brings the wedding cast and audience back to reality by asking how Throckmorton was shot if it was he who was seeking just compensation for a business idea that made Harold Montague rich.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Maid of Honor Bunny Kelly, played by Hannah Altman, brings the wedding cast and audience back to reality by asking how Throckmorton was shot if it was he who was seeking just compensation for a business idea that made Harold Montague rich.

The answer seems but a moment away until a twist. Parker reveals she — er, he — has dug up some dirt on Burger. Parker explains to everyone that Burger no longer writes the society column for the local newspaper and has been demoted to processing routine wedding announcements. But, Parker surmises, a mysterious murder plot at a posh wedding could get her column back.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Jaquann Smith plays shooting victim Al P. Throckmorton, laying on the ground while being looked at by groom Edward Crock (Nic Wilkes) and best man Benny Tutwalder (Bryson Hudson).

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Jaquann Smith plays shooting victim Al P. Throckmorton, laying on the ground while being looked at by groom Edward Crock (Nic Wilkes) and best man Benny Tutwalder (Bryson Hudson).

Just as the audience seemed convinced was a washed-up columnist turned murderer, however, the cast enters another twist in the plot.

The wedding party finally leaves it up to the audience, who are tasked with reviewing the evidence, including a ballistics report, a DNA report and other forensic data, to find the killer.

We’d love to report how it ended and who was arrested but … that might not be any fun. But we agree with the speech given by best man Benny Tutwalder, played by Bryson Hudson: “May you live long and prosper, and may the force be with you.”

The cast included Mildred Montague, mother of the bride, played by Madison Graves; Sheila Conquette, mother of the groom, played by Quontayzia; and wedding guests Dimitri Thomas, Kim Bruce and John Fraley.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Dinner, dessert and a show at the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy's murder-mystery comedy play, "I'm Getting Murdered in the Morning."

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Dinner, dessert and a show at the Richmond County Ninth Grade Academy’s murder-mystery comedy play, “I’m Getting Murdered in the Morning.”

The show’s tech and forensics crew included Marquis Ratliff, Tarmar Waddell, Shantoria Moore, Da’Shawn Peterkin, Brendan Watson, Kim Bruce and Lytique Gaubatz. Servers for dinner and dessert included Elexia Alsbrook, Malekia Byrd, Lauren Brower, Twilley Swinney, Tae Johnson, Xtavia Davis, Corissa Wall, Deon Everette, Brandi Miller, Moquesha Ingram, McKeithan Gibson, Alyson Taylor, Janet Copeland, Jenna Staub, Cameron Hudson, Jerry Leigh Goodwin, Malee Jacobs and Luke Hoggard.

 

 

 

 

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