Valentine’s Day is a celebration of the heart, and for Master Mystery Productions, it’ll be a broken one. As in the Broken Heart Mine in our 11th show and the first one of our 2017 season, Murder at the Broken Heart Mine. Joining forces with Writers of Kern in Bakersfield, MMP will bring to life a murder mystery from the Wild West where the skeletons in their mine shafts are a far more recent vintage.
MURDER AT THE BROKEN HEART MINE
Back in the 1800’s, in the silver-studded hills of Southern California, Stardust City was a boomtown named after its richest provider, the Stardust Mine. But soon the silver dried up, the miners moved on, and the mine got renamed the Broken Heart Mine, “because your heart was sure to be broken if you tried to mine it.” Stardust City became a ghost town for over a hundred years until it was refurbished into a historical Wild West park. To drum up business, the Stardust City Ghost Town holds a Valentine’s Day celebration, encouraging couples to strike it rich in their museums, restaurants, shops, and shows. One couple makes an unlucky strike when a skeleton is unearthed in the “Tunnel of Love” mine shaft. And when the bones show signs of murder, the luck continues to dry up. Whose bones are they? Why are they found in the mine? What connection do they have with a television show, an unsolved disappearance, and a stolen treasure? Saddle up, ladies and gents, for a story of greed, love, passion, and a murder most Western.
Writers of Kern got their first taste of a Master Mystery Production back in 2015 with our third show, Hello Out There, written by Daniel Stallings and C. R. Rowenson. After Hello Out There finished, one of their members turned to us and said “We have to have you come to Bakersfield.” So we did.
Hello Out There involved many new ideas and techniques about what constitutes an interactive mystery. There were no actors. The game was designed to be a kind of scavenger or treasure hunt with the audience searching through a detailed desert crime scene filled with sand, tumbleweeds, bones, and clues. After donning their gloves as desert CSIs, they had to process each scrap of information they gleaned and petition the “court” (our Master Mystery Productions crew) for additional documents and clues on this cold case to build their solutions. The production style was a huge hit and has been adapted in multiple ways for shows such as Hero, Ex Luna, Wildflowers for the Funeral, and Pauper’s Grave. Hello Out There became the basis for the Trunk Show model Master Mystery Productions uses.
For Murder at the Broken Heart Mine, Writers of Kern wanted to take those elements from our previous show and combine it with a new concept to make an original theme. They presented us with “gold mining meets Valentine’s Day” to tie into the weekend they wanted to use for the show. While a challenge at first to figure out a way to meld the two together, a story soon emerged about a ghost town state park inspired by Calico Ghost Town outside Yermo, California, a Valentine’s Day celebration designed by the park to boost tourism, a cheekily-named “Tunnel of Love” mine shaft, and a surprise skeleton.
Add a science TV show, a lost treasure, and a nationwide search for a missing celebrity and you have a Master Mystery Production.
Murder at the Broken Heart Mine will reinvent a Master Mystery Productions classic with adapted gameplay, improved clue, prop, and document design, and a few explosive twists to the story. We’ve taken this mystery containing story elements of history, science, and Valentine’s Day and imbued it throughout the entire experience. From piecing together the history of Stardust City to the scientific approach guests must take to solve the mystery to the deep-running theme of passion that threads through the plot, we’ve worked hard to merge all the elements into a seamless interactive mystery.
Like an archaeologist reconstructing the past from a few clues, our sleuths will do the same as they examine a table of evidence, study suspicious documents, and decipher the right questions to ask to get the answers they need. This time, it’s not just about asking the right questions, but knowing where to ask them. With a map, a notebook, and a few scant bones, audiences will make the transition from tourist to detective to uncover the 24-karat truth. It’ll be one of our most multifaceted puzzles yet.
Murder at the Broken Heart Mine, the 11th Master Mystery Production presented with Writers of Kern, premieres Saturday, February 11, 2017 from 6 to 10 p.m. at Hodel’s Country Dining (5917 Knudsen Dr.) in Bakersfield, California. Tickets are available here. Early bird pricing lasts until January 21st. Book your seats now!
We hope to see you there!
–Master Mystery Productions
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Can’t wait to see it and participate! Annis Cassells, WOK member
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