“The Game’s Afoot” or “Holmes for the Holidays”: A Complicated & Comical Murder Mystery

By Alexis Bensoussan

“The Game’s Afoot” is shaping up to be one of the most unique productions the Flagler College Theatre Department has done. It is a murder mystery farce, and with that comes many challenges for every person involved.

“It’s kind of like juggling and trying to keep all the balls in the air at the same time. It really takes great communication between all the different parts of the production team,” said Elaina Wahl-Temple, the director and costume designer of “The Game’s Afoot,” as well as Resident Designer and Adjunct Professor at Flagler. She acknowledges the struggles that come with putting on a show of this nature, and communication is one of them.

Wahl-Temple and her stage manager Tracy Lukach have both done their best to ensure communication has been excellent all across the board so that everyone is on the same page.

“The Game’s Afoot” is a farcical murder mystery set in Dec. 1936 that follows a group of actors who gather together in celebration of the holidays. 

This show is a difficult feat and there are several elements that go into putting it together. However, it is the struggles that have made this show one of Lukach’s favorites she has ever worked on. 

“Of all the productions that I’ve ever done, I think this one’s at the top of my list just because I like plays that challenge me,” Lukach said. Lukach is a junior majoring in Theatre Arts and minoring in Arts Administration. She is also the Resident Props Master for the theatre department and has several theatrical credits in and out of Flagler.

Being a lover of the playwright Ken Ludwig, Wahl-Temple actually suggested doing “The Game’s Afoot” without knowing the show would fall into her hands to direct. 

“This is the first time I’ve directed a show without having chosen it for myself,” Wahl-Temple said. “I was worried actually that I wasn’t going to have the passion for it that I had for the other productions, but I’ve fallen in love with it.”

Though there have been several challenges in pulling everything together, Wahl-Temple has been delighted to work with her actors and see their growth throughout the process. She even incorporated workshops into rehearsal for each actor to delve more into their characters. She saw tremendous growth in every person, and it gave her a sense of pride in her actors and the process.

“It’s exciting. When it starts clicking like that, you feel like you’re on a ride. Like a rollercoaster or something. It’s so exciting to watch it just pull together like that,” Wahl-Temple said. 

Wahl-Temple is assisting Zeus Scott with his costume for the character William Gillette. Along with being the show’s director, she is also the costume designer. “I’ve always said that a good costume designer is like a director,” she said. “They are making choices for the actors through what they’re putting them in, so it’s actually easier when you’re directing a show because you get to know the characters intimately and can choose their clothes better.” Photo by Mike Kitaif.

Another obstacle is the physical aspects of the show that occur on stage. The actors have to navigate stage combat safely yet believably. Some even have to maneuver a revolving set piece. 

“Whodunnit?” is the big question of Flagler College’s fall production of “The Game’s Afoot.”

“Does that mean we’re all suspects?” asks Simon Bright, one of the characters in the show.

“It’s a bunch of really big personalities in one room, which leads to a lot of finger-pointing, a lot of suspicion and eventually a murder,” Lukach said.

The show will run Oct. 19-21 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 21-22 at 2 p.m., with an ASL interpretation on the Oct. 19 show. Tickets are $15 for the general public, $5 for students, and free for Flagler College faculty, staff and students.

“The Game’s Afoot” requires numerous props, set pieces, special effects, projections, sound and lighting. All of which play a role in putting the show together and crafting it into more than just a play on a stage with actors. 

As a stage manager, Lukach’s most significant job is establishing effective communication with all the people involved in the show, including the production and technical teams, actors, assistants and director. 

“I’m gonna be doing all sorts of stuff, and I’m gonna need more hands to push all the buttons I’m pushing, but I’m excited,” Lukach said. 

Lukach has also enjoyed getting to observe the actors work on the show. 

“All eight of them have had so much growth so far. They’re all completely different actors, and it has just been such a joy to watch it come together,” Lukach said. “As we start to get more elements throughout the process, like more of the set, more of the furniture, costume pieces, things like that coming together, they are just falling piece by piece into place way more than I think they were even expecting.”

Felix Geisel places a kiss on his wife Madge’s hand. “What a team we are,” he said. Photo courtesy of Mike Kitaif.  

Wahl-Temple, Lukach and the rest of the individuals involved in “The Game’s Afoot” are passionate about the work they are doing, and they are excited for people to see the final product.

Wahl-Temple is sure the show will be as captivating to the audience as it is to her.  

“It is fun and entertaining, and they’re really gonna like it,” Wahl-Temple said.

So, will “The Game’s Afoot” cast solve the mystery? 

To find out, tickets can be purchased at flagler.universitytickets.com or at the door.

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