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September 12, 2010

Murder in Iambic Pentameter

A reader sent mail yesterday asking whether I'd be willing to sell any of my old mystery dinner games (that I described in a short series of posts earlier this year).

I actually wasn't even sure I could lay hands on them, but as it turned out, I had most of them still around on an old back-up drive. It appears that the one in particular he was looking for was Murder in Iambic Pentameter; of the six, that's the one that's in the best shape from an archival standpoint. Because they were one-off games, I didn't take a lot of care in preserving the digital matter, and many of them aren't fully available -- in some cases, I don't even have all the printed matter, or the mysteries are incomplete because I finished them at my folks' house.

However, Iambic Pentameter was basically completely there, so I've gone ahead and converted those from Publisher to PDF, and thrown them up in a zip file.

It was written for 13 players,

Men (8)

  • Shakespeare's ghost (typically the host)
  • MacBeth (of the Scottish Play)
  • Rosencrantz (of Hamlet)
  • Guildenstern (likewise)
  • Hamlet (yet again)
  • Romeo (of Romeo and Juliet)
  • Puck (of A Midsummer Night's Dream)
  • Othello

Women (5)

  • Ophelia (of Hamlet)
  • Desdemona (of Othello)
  • Katherine (of The Taming of the Shrew)
  • Lady MacBeth (of the Scottish Play)
  • Juliet (of Romeo and Juliet)

I noticed while flipping through the texts that Puck is perhaps optional -- I think that guest was not 100% certain he could be there. There are instructions to other guests about how to instead tackle his accusations. I have no idea how well that will work, since I really don't remember. You could have one of your other actors play both parts as well (we had Hamlet portraying three different parts due to a sudden sickness which wiped out two guests).

If you prefer a more balanced cast in terms of gender, I remind you that performing against one's sex was a well-known and respected tradition in the time of the Globe ;)

A Readme.txt file is included in the zip archive to give some instructions as to how to print these and otherwise prepare them. It is fairly spoiler free, except that a few of the pieces of evidence require preparation, and so those clues will be available to the preparer. Not enough is disclosed, however, to piece together the particulars of the crime.

If you choose to download and put it on, go crazy, I'd love to hear back from you about how it went. Drink lots of wine, that'll help smooth over any rough bits -- I'm not a professional writer. I couldn't take money for these for myself, but if you feel like it's something you'd be willing to pay for, please take your loved one out to an evening of local theater instead. The theaters need the money more than I.

If there's sufficient interest, I'll try and put the others up online at some point, maybe one a month or so. I'm not going to put a ton of effort into restoring those that are partial, but I'm happy to provide them if I can find the materials.

Posted by Brett Douville at September 12, 2010 08:29 AM