The Murder Monologues (1940): Takes Your Breath Away!

Meagan Westfall

Last weekend, the Orcutt Academy Drama Club put on their first virtual performance of the 2020-2021 school year, The Murder Monologues. It truly was ‘to die for’!

This show was directed and edited by the drama/9th grade English teacher Michael Shaw and written by F.C Shaw. The sound manager was Camila Gomez, with Lauren Eubanks as their Technical Assistant. For voice effects  Alynah Ausan,  Alan Coburn, Nicholas DiPoalo, James Edwards, Miles Edwards, Lauran Eubanks, Camila Gomez  and  Michael Shaw worked very hard on them.

As for the cast of this performance, Trudy Douglas (Rosland Wall) reports that she found her boss’s body in the study and our smart and witty Janet    Culpepper  (Claire  Gutburlet) cracked the murder case of news paper writer RJ Suthers with her father Chief  Culpepper    (Matthew Santana),  Peter Archer  (Logan Landress), and Dr.  Walters  (Brandon Hawes). As local townspeople Charlie  (Lael  Hastings),  Patty  (Gabrielle Bigelow),  Judy  (Victoria  Mora),  Betty  (Haley  Chamberlin),  and Tess  (Mittie  Fisher) rave about the death of the rich snobby RJ, spoiled and demanding Ellie Suthers  (Cassidy Sullivan)  and her impertinent mother Charlotte  Suthers (Miranda  Mejia)  ‘mourn’ the  death of their poor husband and father when in reality Charlotte wanted him stopped before they got a divorce and signed the new will so her and Ellie could stay in the previous one and keep the family fortune. Eideth  (Sabrina)  had spared him time of suffering since he was diagnosed with a deadly stage of liver cancer and swore to keep it a secret and tried to persuade him into letting her own the company, he refused so she poisoned him with the help of Charlotte and Gregory  (Nicholas Utter) and bought the company herself. “This murder needed a mans mucels and a womans cunning.” said Janet Culpepper, and she couldnt be more correct.

Overall, this play went very well for no one being able to be in close proximities of each other and fit perfectly with the timeline. From the outfits to the voices, to the iconic 40’s phones, it definitely gave off a 1940s murder mystery similar to what you would see in a Nancy Drew book. The tempo of their voices was nice and you were able to understand what they were saying even with the accent. One thing I would have changed is when they talk to the other people, for example when Janet asks Charlotte to be quiet, you don’t hear Charlotte, only Janet which can be confusing to some viewers. I would make it so you can hear both of them but still have them keep their distance by having the other person behind the camera talking to the one in frame. There could have been more topography by adding a green screen instead of having the background be the same black backdrop throughout the entire play. The dark background adds a tiny bit of an eerie vibe but not as much as if they were to use a dark interior of a house. Lastly, I think that the camera could have been backed up a bit because the actors looked enclosed in one single space and you only see a third of them, not even their top half. Other than that the actors and theatrical helpers did an excellent job creating a play virtually during these hard times.


3.5 out of 5 stars- “Great play, but could have used background work.”

-Meagan Westfall


4 out of 5 stars-”Loved the outfits and classy makeup”

-Clark Griswald