In this unusual twist to a murder-mystery plot, the Dobyns-Bennett High School Forensics Team (better known as the Dramahawks) takes to the stage to bring its first-ever, student-written and student-directed play to the community.
The murder mystery fundraiser will be held at 7 p.m, Friday, Oct. 5 in the Dobyns-Bennett Little Theatre. Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and free for children 4 and under.
The interactive murder mystery was written by junior Ethan Walker and features suspense, humor, quirky characters, chaos and, of course, murder.
Last May, Ethan volunteered to write the play over the summer after his theatre teacher mentioned doing a murder-mystery fundraiser the following school year. The result was a 60-page play with 10 main characters and some extras.
“I started with stereotypes and built up from there. The characters develop depth throughout the play,” Ethan explained. The story takes place in a typical mansion setting where the characters come together after receiving a mysterious invitation. Chaos ensues as the guests begin to die untimely deaths. When asked who the murderer is, Ethan said, “The audience chooses! After the second act, we’re going to have the audience vote during intermission for who they think the killer is.”
“The person who gets the most votes is the killer,” he added. After the audience chooses the killer, the drama team will do a final act, one of five possible endings for which they have rehearsed.
Speech and theater teacher Laura Humphrey said the play was originally meant to be a short one-act play to be performed for the Kiwanis Club of Kingsport. “But when Ethan started writing it, he kept writing and writing,” laughed Laura.
“So the full-length version we’re going to do for a fundraiser and the shortened version for the Kiwanis,” she said. Laura said that she is proud of the great job Ethan is doing as director, and of the Dramahawks for learning two different versions of the play along with five possible endings.
The Dramahawks team currently consists of 38 students. They perform three plays a year, as well as participating in several community events with local service clubs and schools. Junior Maria Simpson, in her second year with the Dramahawks, said she has loved acting since she was a little girl. “I just love being in plays and getting to act and tell a story to an audience,” she said. Maria enjoys playing the part of Chloe, a snobby, rich girl. “I’ve learned so much about acting and it’s really fun to hang out with all these amazing people who are interested in the same things I am,” she said.
Proceeds from the fundraiser will help to cover the expenses of forensic tournaments that the team attends throughout the year. “It takes a lot of money to go to these events, and that’s the biggest thing we need to raise funds for,” said Laura.
There will also be a silent auction with items guests can bid on both before the show and during intermission. Also during intermission, dessert and drinks will be provided. “The cost of the admission ticket includes dessert, drink and admission to the silent auction. It’s actually a pretty good deal!” said Laura.
Would you like to help solve a ‘murder’ - while helping to support the Forensics Club of Dobyns-Bennett High School? If so, the Dramahawks invite you to join them at this delightfully entertaining event.
Auction donations, such as retail and restaurant gift cards, tickets to local venues, merchandise, etc., are also needed. For more information about the play, tickets or auction items, contact Laura Humphrey at (423) 943-2172.