National Aeronautics and Space Administration

Glenn Research Center

Mystery Event

June 14, 2007

The mystery event turned out to be a private murder mystery dinner theater performance, just for the ten of us (plus Dr. Kankam for the first half) in the hotel conference room. There were four tables set up with folded cards at our places where, at the end, we would write which character we thought was guilty and why. Donatos pizzas—cheese, pepperoni, and meatless Hawaiian—were waiting when we got there, along with bottled water in the conference room fridge.

The play itself was set in a Judge-Judy-like TV courtroom, where a 40-something fading celebrity was being accused of killing a clown to keep him from saying her age during a Happy-Birthday singing telegram. The actors played the lawyers, judge, defendant, and some of the witnesses, but each of us also had a part, a laminated script to read, and some props. Most of our parts were as witnesses: the bouncer from the party where the murder happened, the rapper who sang at it, celebrity party guests, etc. Kyle also got to play the muscle-headed bailiff, and Jennifer was the defendant’s lawyer, who turned out to be the guilty party. It wasn’t in the script for her to do so, but Jennifer refused to incriminate her character, and bolted the courtroom when her crimes were revealed. Bailiff Kyle managed to run her down and carry her back from the hallway.

The most accurate verdict came from Jury B, the stage right half of the audience (minus Jennifer, who seceded to form her own Jury C when the rest of Jury B wanted to incriminate her). Kyle and Ashley tied for the winning verdict, so they each got a copy of the prize: a Sim-City-like PC game where the player designs and runs their own version of the International Space Station. 

—Ashley Micks