For the first time in about a decade, the public library in Hay River will host a murder-mystery night on Feb. 15.

The interactive event – involving those attending taking on roles as main characters or extras – is called Murder at The Juice Joint, which will have a Roaring ’20s theme.

“People can choose if they want to be a main character or an extra,” said Marissa Oteiza, the program librarian at NWT Centennial Library. “So the only difference between that is the main characters will get two envelopes with clues.

“One of them will be the murderer and one of them will be the murdered, and the extras they still get a name and a character, but they can come and go and they don’t have to follow a script quite as tightly.”

Marissa Oteiza, the program librarian at NWT Centennial Library, models one of the 1920s-themed props for a murder mystery night on Feb. 15.
Paul Bickford/NNSL photo

She said there will probably be about 10 characters with a script and clues.

“But the script is more just like talking ideas,” she added. “So it’s like make sure you ask this person this question and make sure that you reveal that you have this clue.”

Oteiza will be the host for the evening.

“I would hand out the first envelopes to the main characters and then they start intermingling and start acting out in character,” she said. “Then the lights go off, a murder happens, the lights come on and it’s investigation time. And then everyone is trying to figure out who the murderer is.”

Tickets for the fundraising event, which is for ages 19 years and over, are $25 each and must be picked up by Feb. 14.

Oteiza said the idea for a murder-mystery evening came up at a staff meeting at the library.

She noted the previous one at the library about 10 years ago was fun and well-attended.

“I’ve picked the 1920s theme because it’s the year 2020,” she said, noting the Roaring ’20s are really popular right now. “People are into the ’20s attire, as well with The Great Gatsby and the Downton Abbey movie.”

Oteiza said, if the event is well-attended and goes well, she would be interested in holding a murder-mystery once a season.

Murder at The Juice Joint was found online, and rights and materials were purchased.

“Every time you do them, you can get a package online,” said Oteiza. “It gives you the full scripts, the characters’ names and then some suggestions for costumes, food, that kind of thing.”

Participants are being encouraged to dress to match the Roaring ’20s theme.

“It adds to the integrity of the event and also the fun to see people dressed up in costume, and I find the more you get into costume the more you’re going to be easier to get into character,” said Oteiza.

The library will also have some basic props and items for costumes, she added. “I don’t want people to be deterred if they don’t have a costume. They can still come and I can provide some stuff for them.”

Oteiza noted she attended a murder-mystery at a private residence in Hay River about three years ago.

“Just for fun with our friends,” she said. “I loved it. I thought it was so much fun to get in character and dress up. It was the middle of winter when it’s kind of boring and dark outside. So it was just a fun thing to do in town with your friends.”

Paul Bickford

Paul Bickford is the reporter for Hay River Hub.

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  1. How fun!! Wish we could return to Hay River to attend this event.
    We attended a mystery dinner theatre in the 90’s I think in the building opposite the corrections centre across the tracks.
    It was amazing and a couple of us solved the mystery!!
    Ron and Gale Cook
    Salmon Arm, BC