Last weekend, Jenny Brum ’12 publicly premiered her adaptation of the classic board game-inspired film “Clue.” Students turned Emerson dining hall into a large mansion filled with murderers, colorful names, and dangerous weapons. The hilarious adaptation brought in a full house for every showing; an exciting and well-deserved outcome for a student directed play.
Brum’s project brought together a unique group of students on campus that worked with one another to create a show run almost entirely by students. Blair Davis ’14 who played, as she so eloquently puts it, “the pale and tragic Mrs. White,” said, “we had almost no adult involvement and this was a purely student-run production in every aspect. I feel so proud to have been involved in creating something completely new and original for the Wheaton campus.”
Brum’s adaptation most certainly was an original for the Wheaton campus, and she and the cast managed to put a unique spin on a film featuring such an iconic cast of actors like Tim Curry, Christopher Lloyd, and Michael McKean. “A lot of us had seen the film before, but we didn’t try to base our performance on it beyond trying to recreate the frantic energy of the movie onstage,” said Joe Nelson ’14, who performed as Wadsworth the butler. Similarly, Davis said, “Jenny had all of us watch the movie as a cast before rehearsals began, not to influence our performance but to help us see what the timing and energy of a comedy of this genre requires”.
The cast and audience members raved about the success of the film-to-stage adaptation. Adam Soybel ’12, the motorist and Evangelist/Chef, remarked that “it’s always challenging to capture a film in play form with all its sound effects, camera angles and re-edits, among other things, but I believe we were able to capture the spirit of the original work in what we performed”.
Turning the performance into a dinner-theater in Emerson Dining Hall only added to the remarkable success of the play. Soybel added, “the location, Emerson, played a huge role in this. It’s an unconventional space to hold a performance in, but Jenny had a vision and we made it our mysterious mansion.” Robert Abrams ’12, who played professor Plum, remarked on the popularity of the play and of the large turn-out of audience members. “People got excited about this because it was something fun,” he said.
“It wasn’t some overwrought drama with nigh-incomprehensible dialogue, or some trite piece of garbage some student was trying to pass off as deep. Everybody loves ‘Clue’.”
When asked why she chose to create the stage version of Clue, Brum says, “ ‘Clue’ was one of my favorite movies growing up. It was so memorable that I would sometimes find myself quoting it in conversation and I was surprised by how many people recognized it.” She comments that, “it was my friend’s brother who had the idea for a stage version. My friend and I were very involved in theatre at the time and we immediately took up the project.”
Students were unanimous when asked about their opinions of the show. Thomas Nagata ’15 said, “I think Jenny was a genius in this adaptation and it works so well,” and he is not alone in his opinion. The fun performances, the hilarious jokes, and the tasty finger sandwiches and chocolate fondue turned a college dining hall into the board game mansion we all played with as children. For the cast and for the audience, ‘Clue’ created lasting memories.
While Brum said that she wanted, “to send an enormous thank you to everyone who came to see the show…[and] to publicly thank the people who went out of their way to make the production possible, namely John Bragel, Chris Vinson, Becky Pye, and Joe Klein,” the Wheaton campus wants to thank her for bringing the community together and creating such a wonderful production.