Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Your School. Your Paper. Since 1936.

The Suffolk Journal

Suffolk PAO Takes the Circus Stage with ‘Murder Under the Big Top’

Ellie Gregory
Suffolk Performing Arts puts on their annual dinner theater with this years being “Murder Under the Big Top.”

The Suffolk University Performing Arts Office debuted their latest production “Murder Under The Big Top” this Halloween weekend, a dinner theater with three courses and a homicide investigation. As stated by Ringmaster Roberta, played by Amaya Anderson, it was “A night you’ll never forget!”

From Oct. 26-28, audience members entered the transformed Keches Room of Sargent Hall and were shown to their assigned seats by the cast and crew of the show. The room was adorned with circus decor, flashing lights, curtains and posters of each character.

The tables held programs of the cast and crew as well as the makings of a three-course dinner, which is served throughout the show, and “sleuth sheets” in which audience members guessed who they believed to be the killer.

The characters approached each table to interact with audience members, and the “crew” is revealed to be a part of the show; the tech, photographer, prop and concessions workers are all characters as well, and casually discuss with the audience during main scenes. 

“I loved how interactive everyone was,” said Kaylin Gillespie, a Suffolk student who attended the show on Oct. 27.

Alongside the plot of the dinner theater, the cast approached tables to ask for talents and invited audience members onto the floor to showcase these to “audition” for the circus. The talented individuals included a pair of mimes and two people cartwheeling together.

Among the many dance numbers of the show, there was a collaboration with the Suffolk hip-hop club Wicked!, where “audience members” rose from their seats and joined their club members for a dance. As for the plot of the show, the characters created suspense and thrill for audience members, slowly building up to the murder by including grudges, arguments and disdain to muddle the ability to determine the true killer. The characters offered subtle clues but kept the audience guessing the killer’s identity until the very end.

They also aligned the plot with each dinner course; they would have a break in the show, where each character would start bringing out food and serving the audience. They served an appetizer of salad, an entree option of chicken or pasta and a chocolate raspberry cake for dessert. 

The cast of twelve juggled many responsibilities throughout the night, including showing audience members to their seats, acting and even switching characters, serving food and interacting with the audience. 

This effort took a significant amount of work and preparation from all involved, according to Rianna Lawrence, a Suffolk junior who played the role of Concessions Claire. 

“It was quite a bit [of planning] because we only had about six weeks to do everything so it wasn’t that much time. Everyone put in a lot of work trying to learn how to run their lines and improvise, and understudies had to do all of that too,” she said.

At the end of the show, the actors brought up several people who incorrectly guessed the killer on their sleuth sheets and took a photo of them with the cast. They did the same for one winner, who was also given a $30 gift card to The Dubliner.

Viewers left the play smiling and taking photos at the circus-themed photo booth by the doors. Overall, this was a hilarious and impressive production by the Suffolk PAO.


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About the Contributor
Ellie Gregory, Staff Writer | she/her
Ellie is a freshman from Bedford, New Hampshire majoring in criminal justice. When she isn’t doing homework or writing an article, you can find her exploring Boston, reading, writing poetry or listening to Taylor Swift.

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