An Absolute Hit: Perspectives’ Absolutely Murder Plays Well


Jourdan Zelaya, Features Editor

“This is an anniversary. A year ago tonight there was a murder. But we mustn’t forget that other things happened that night, too.” These words spoken in the prologue set the tone for the rest of the play Absolutely Murder.

As is the case each year, November brought with it cooler temperatures, the prospect of a few days off, and theater. From November 11th to November 19th, Paint Branch Perspectives hit the stage for the start of the 2016-2017 theater season. This year, they began with a mysterious twist; a timeless and classic “whodunit?” murder tale where everyone is a suspect, even people whom you would never expect.
Absolutely Murder by Guernsey LaPelley is a story of a young girl, Kate Landson (Kayla Weekes), and her Aunty Bess (Amaia Robinson), who recently purchased an old gunpowder factory and plans to remodel and live in it with Kate. Tagging along for the story is Sky Bentley (Irvin Pamah) and Lane Burrage (Samuel Adebesin), Kate’s two rival suitors, who’ll both do anything to win Kate’s heart.
In the old gunpowder factory, which was recently the site of a murder, Kate and Sky try to figure out who the murderer was and why this person is out to murder Kate as well. With colorful and strange characters such as Dr. Claude Hooker (Aqeel Muthaliff) and his three patients, Lorna (Maddie Rose Halpin), Nan (Samantha Ortiz), and Dottie (Rameen Zarrar), and Mr. Cordyce (Madison Parilla), a mysterious older gentleman who lives in the lighthouse near the gunpowder factory with his wife Mrs. Cordyce (Tari Owen), there’s always a nod to humor as well as suspense and a sense of uncertainty.

The play begins at a relatively slow pace compared to other productions that Perspectives has put on such as Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory in the spring of 2013 or Charlotte’s Web in the spring of 2016. There’s an abundance of dialogue in the beginning, but the pace of the action picks up in the second act when Kate finds a letter that reads, “To Kate Landson, a warning. Get off this island at once. One of your friends is trying to murder you.” From Act 2 forward, comedic elements as well as romantic elements ensue, captivating the audience with laughter and even the occasional “aww.” The actors did a wonderful job capturing their character’s personality and spirit.

Auditions for the play were September 8th and 9th, and rehearsals began on September 19th. Junior Samantha Ortiz, who played one of Dr. Hooker’s patients Nan, commented on the hard work that went into the play. Ortiz said, “We would rehearse from 2:45 to 5, maybe 6 PM, sometimes even longer, and we would have a week before the show even started where we would immediately begin to rehearse when school ended and go until 9-10PM if we really had to.”

Senior Irvin Pamah, who played Sky Bentley said that his favorite part of the process of the whole play was during performance nights. Pamah said, “The whole cast puts on their makeup in the makeup room together, and we just listen to all kinds of different music and we get ourselves hyped for our show. We become closer as a group because we become more excited for what we are about to do for you guys [the audience]!”

The shows for Absolutely Murder may have concluded, but keep an eye out for these actors and actresses in Perspectives’ spring musical production of Honk.