It is opening night of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society’s production of the 1920s murder mystery The Murder at Haversham Manor. The thespians have seen success with previous plays, and the time has come to present this show––a play similar to Agatha Christie’s’ The Mousetrap––to you, the audience, whether they’re ready or not.
Excitedly, Director Chris Bean welcomes the audience while the company is frantically making last minute changes to the set. They don’t have time to finish, but the play must go on!
Character Charles Haversham is killed, and the murder mystery plot begins to progress, but not very smoothly. Enter Jonathan, who outright trips on his entrance. Thomas and Perkins try to enter, finding the door to be stuck shut.
A plethora of calamities ensue, including disappearing props, missing actors, collapsing sets, forgotten and entirely flubbed lines, breaking character, and more. Throughout the mishaps and chaos on- and backstage, Inspector Carter tries to conduct an investigation on the death of Charles.
The first act ends as the characters realize the murderer must still be in the manor. During the play intermission, the director tries to assure the cast that this isn’t the worst play in the history of ever––and they press forward to Act II.
But the more the play progresses, the worse the acting gets. What will be the big climax: the reveal of the murderer or how this acting troupe survives this performance?