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At Tualatin Library, murder mystery night goes adult

Mask & Mirror to help present 'A Knight of Murder' on Oct. 27.

In recent years, the Tualatin Public Library has hosted popular murder mystery nights for teenagers, replete with colorful costumes and improvisational drama.

But on Oct. 27, it will be the grownups' turn.

The library is partnering with Mask & Mirror Community Theatre to offer “A Knight of Murder,” a medieval mystery for library patrons ages 18 and older. Seven actors from Mask & Mirror will give the proceedings an extra-dramatic flair.

Julie Wickman, a library specialist, said the teen murder mysteries were so well-liked that library staff decided that this fall, they wanted to offer a similar experience for adults.

“We approached Mask & Mirror and thought, well, maybe they'd like to join in the fun,” Wickman explained.

It didn't take much persuading to get the community theater group, which puts on productions in Tigard and often holds dramatic readings at both the Tigard and Tualatin public libraries, on board with the event.

Mason Hall, a Mask & Mirror co-founder who said he is acting as the “go-between” from the theater company to the library, expressed his hope that the presence of Mask & Mirror actors and guidance from the thespians will improve the experience for members of the public who participate.

“This is going to sort of be a reflection on Mask & Mirror as a community theater company,” Hall said.

Mask & Mirror actors will portray some of the principal actors in the mystery, in which one of as many as 20 characters portrayed by library patrons will secretly be the culprit in a murder. Those roles include some classic Middle Ages archetypes: the king and queen, the sheriff, the royal watchman and more.

To fill out the rest of the supporting cast, as well as to join the ranks of the suspects in the crime drama, members of the library community can preregister before Oct. 13.

Costumes are strongly encouraged. Hall said his actors will show up in full medieval regalia.

“They're going to be costumed by our costume designer for Mask & Mirror, Viola Pruitt,” said Hall. Of Pruitt, he added, “She's amazing, what she can do with just a little material.”

The actors won't have scripts, nor will anyone else. Hall explained that the key to an immersive mystery drama is for everyone to stay in character: to do and say the things they think their character would.

“I think it's going to be a lot of fun,” said Wickman.

There are about 34 roles available to participants from the public, including supporting roles that will not be suspects in the murder, Wickman indicated. But if registration fills up, would-be detectives, information-givers and suspects should not be put off — Wickman said she expects the event to be so successful that it will not only be held again, with a different storyline and setting, but it could expand from the community room to the entire public library in the future.

“I think we'll probably do at least one a year,” Wickman said, suggesting that future mysteries could be themed around major holidays.

Hall said it would be “wonderful” if the adult mystery night became a recurring event.

“Maybe this will become a regular thing here at Tualatin,” he said. “That would be fun if it was.”

Anyone interested in signing up for “A Knight of Murder” can visit the Tualatin Library at 18878 S.W. Martinazzi Ave. or register on the library's website.

By Mark Miller
Assistant Editor
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