Editor’s note: This article was initially published in The Daily Gazette, Swarthmore’s online, daily newspaper founded in Fall 1996. As of Fall 2018, the DG has merged with The Phoenix. See the about page to read more about the DG.
Those lucky enough to get a ticket for Friday’s night’s Murder Mystery Dinner Theater at Mary Lyon on Friday evening were treated to a kooky and endlessly entertaining evening. The invitation read “formal attire,” and students, arriving dressed in a wide range of formality (from prom dresses to jeans) entered to find a charming reception with some decidedly unusual guests.
As dinner began, we were formally introduced. This was a festive dinner party thrown by Gwendolyn Swabbe (housing goddess Liz Derickson), a tycoon of cotton swabs. Yes, like Q-tips. Unfortunately, Ms. Swabbe doesn’t last through the first toast. She’s been murdered.
The suspects include Ms. Swabbe’s chemist, Shirly Yttriosky (Erin Martell ’09), her friend Michigan Jones, “Indiana Jones’s gay cousin,” (Scott Storm ’08), her son, Lexington Swabbe III (Jen Spindel ’10), her butler (Diana Pozo ’09), her professional rivals, cotton ball magnates Georgiana and Gregory Bolles (Katie Bates ’08, who also directed and Sergio Rivas ’10), a snake charmer (Jackie Werner ’07) and a random Soothsayer (James Robinson ’10).
Secrets were revealed. The will is discovered. Another will is discovered. Who had the opportunity? Who had the motive? All are implicated. Between courses, the plot got twistier and twistier. Did Michigan Jones kill Ms. Swabbe for her diamond-studded original Eli Whitney cotton gin (“it belongs in a museum!”)? Was she having an affair with her butler? Did the chemist have a secret? What in the world was the Soothsayer doing there, anyways?
The play, which was written by Storm, Robinson, Pozo, and Erin Martell ’09 and directed by Bates, was a classic example of the refined murder mystery genre. Every standard plot device was deployed with style and a great deal of jokes. The fine food, including a wonderful selection of pies, was cooked by the large crew.
In the end, the audience voted on whodunit. We saw three different possible endings. What actually happened? It depends on whom you ask.