My name is Brian Files and I’m grateful to be asked to be a guest blogger on the Gardiner Public Library’s website.
Last weekend, the 23rd of April, I got the chance to perform a mystery show at the Library. I’ve performed all over this state in Mysteries and Improv shows. Some in small venues to small crowds, others were large venues with over 200 plus people in attendance. But this show was something special. Not only was it at a location that I cherish in my hometown, but I also wrote the script and produced the show. And it was a blast!
The whole process started over a year ago when my wife, Deb Files, asked if a show at the library was something I thought possible. Time went by and I forgot all about it until she brought it up again during the winter. “Sure” I said, “sounds like fun.” And it was, but it was also a lot of time and work by not just myself, but all those involved.
To give you an idea of the challenge we were up against: when I work for Mystery for Hire, we perform in convention halls, banquet rooms, large restaurants, and other places set up for large crowds and entertainment. This event was to be in a multiple storied building with multiple rooms…and I wanted to use them all. I also usually work with a group of professionals that have been in the business for quite some time. This time around, I was holding auditions, looking for local talent that could fill out the cast.
Those I chose to cast were great! They were willing to go along with a show concept that was completely different to them. And they trusted that the show would work, although some scenes were in different rooms and some were performed simultaneously in different locations! We met once a week for a month leading up to the day of the show. On the day of the show, we met 3 hours before the doors open to go over how the whole event would take place. They all performed beyond my wildest dreams!
These type of events are not about perfection in lines or character development. It’s all about having fun. The audience tends to let things go, if the actors just keep rolling along. The more fun we tend to have, the more fun the audience has. Don’t ask me why, it just seems to happen that way.
I have to thank all those that made this possible. Dawn Thistle for her immense knowledge of the history of the library (which I used for the basis of the show), Anne Davis for allowing me to display items and for letting me run rampant around a building she cares deeply for. The staff at the library for all their hard work on the night of the event. The Gardiner Library Association fundraising committee for giving me the go ahead in the first place. And to the cast- Cheryl Clark, Jonathan Price, Richard Becker, Julie Poulin, and Amanda Kinsey. They brought this show to life.
I also need to congratulate our winner of the Super Sleuth, Mary Ann Johnson! Her answer was spot on! The answer that made us laugh the most went to Representative Gay Grant, her idea of punishment for the crime was awesome (unless you’re Cheryl and Richard who would have to wear their costumes all the time AND clean the library)!
A special thanks goes to a person that couldn’t even be at the event. Robert LeBlanc made the aged documents that were on display for over a month. He also formatted all the paperwork. I wish he could have been there!
Finally, let me just say that getting to see something that you worked so hard at come to life was a thrill. I am so happy that those in attendance had a great time. It meant so much to have this event succeed. And to those that asked, Yes, we will be doing this again. I’m already working on the script.
Photo Credit to Griffin Files, age 14