Exploring Entertainment in Florida's 850 & Beyond
If you are in the greater Destin area – it is likely that you have seen the name ‘Act4Murder’. But what is it? The simplest answer is it is a local troupe of actors that put on original dinner theatre-styled performances.
Act4Murder founder Paula Hilton, answered a few questions for us and we think it will inspire you to check them out!
What can someone expect of a show?
If you’re used to attending live theater in an actual theater with a stage, expect this to be more of an interactive experience. The actors perform on the floor around the tables as the guests dine. Typically a 3-course meal is served, so rather than two acts with one 15-minute intermission, you have several short breaks between scenes for the serving and dining portion of the evening. Because they are so physically close, it is more of an intimate experience.
What was the most outrageous, unexpected reaction you’ve had during a show?
All of my shows are comedies, with some having a little more “innuendo” than others. I always expect people to laugh, but in one show, the actors go on and on about one of the character’s “jugs.” They’re talking about actual bottles, or jugs, but it sounds like they’re talking about a certain part of another character’s body. This always gets lots of laughs. But at one performance, two pastors and their wives were in attendance. I was a little concerned they wouldn’t think this was funny, but I was rewarded with long, loud belly-laughs from all four of them. That was very unexpected!
What is the process behind a show… from idea to performance?
Once I get an idea for a show, the first thing I do is come up with a title and the character names, and then write a brief paragraph that I use for advertising. Next I schedule the premier performance, then cast the show and schedule about a dozen rehearsals leading up to it. Now the clock starts! I write an outline, write the play, “tweak” the dialog, then we have our read-through and rehearsals begin in earnest. In the process of rehearsing, actors get their costumes together, we learn a “death dance” with our in-house choreographer, and have a photo shoot for publicity pictures. Our final rehearsal is a dress-rehearsal, then we are ready to perform!
Where can someone learn more?
To learn more about Act4Murder, visit our website at http://www.act4murder.com, then use the buttons to navigate around the site. You can read about the actors, about me, how to book a private party, and how to get us into your restaurant. Contact information is also on the site if you’re an actor hoping to join our troupe.
Do you ever hold open auditions?
I have held open auditions in the past, but in the past few years, I hold “by invitation” auditions for people who contact me directly. These generally occur in the fall, as I figure out the schedule for the following year in early January. If anything opens up unexpectedly during the year, I will sometimes put something out on Facebook or Twitter seeking actors, but I will meet with you and have you cold-read with existing Act4Murder actors before committing to include you in a show.
If someone wanting to pursue acting, what would your suggestion to them be?
Get some experience under your belt. Take classes at the local colleges, audition for local college and community service productions, and participate in any workshops that are offered in your area. Document all of this in a resume, and hire a professional photographer for headshots – all of this makes it easier for directors to see if you could fit into their productions, and will benefit you in the long run.