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Friday, 15 March 2013 | MYT 12:00 AM

Guests get to solve a mystery while dining for a good cause

CAN you imagine being in the centre of a game of Cluedo or CSI which comes to life?

While you are savouring an elegant dinner at the Kristal Ballroom in Hilton Petaling Jaya, the drama will sneak up on you and slowly the characters and story unfolds. Some people are not who you think they are. Either way, you wind up a part of the story.

For all you know you could be the one to deduce who killed whom, with what weapon in which room.

These are some of the mystifying moments that are bound to take place at the first installation of “The Unexpected Guest” fundraising dinner - an interactive dinner with a murder-mystery theme organised by StART Society.

It will take place on April 20 and 21 at 7.30pm in the hotel’s grand ballroom.

The Unexpected Guest is a dinner and drama event where you unwittingly become part of the act.

Written by Karynn Tan and directed by Freddy Tan, their collaborations have led to two consecutive years as winner of Best Overall Production in Kuala Lumpur Performing Arts Centre’s (KLPac) Short and Sweet Musical Festival.

“Although we are not an events company, we always like to push the envelope and be pioneers or innovators so that hopefully we can inspire kids under our tutelage that anything is possible if we play it to our strengths and passions,” said StART Society programme director Joshua Lee.

StART Society is an arts academy dedicated to serve the needs of underprivileged children by unearthing and developing their artistic talents.

With The Star as the official media, the night also promises enthralling mystery, scandals and eureka moments, where fiction and reality have little separation.

He said the powerful collaboration between both Tans would create a winning team to produce the much-anticipated event.

“The concept of a murder-mystery dinner is very common in the west so we decided to take the existing model and expand it here. The guests will definitely be surprised because some cast members will be at their tables for added drama,” said Lee.

He added that StART Society had approached other hotels last year but none were enthusiastic when they heard the words ‘NGO’ and ‘fundraising’.

“It is nice to know that some hoteliers like those in Hilton Petaling Jaya still have a heart,” he said, adding that they would limit guests to 300 pax per night.

To facilitate audience participation on opening night, Lee said the public could log on to their Facebook and Twitter account to tweet about the show on the big screen in the ballroom.

Samsung tablets, smart phones and cameras compliments of Manoah Consulting, will also be up for grabs that night for the top three winners who correctly guess who are the perpetrators.

Also present at the press conference were Star Publications (M) Bhd executive deputy chairman Datuk Vincent Lee and Capital FM presenters Asha Gill and Liang.

The press were also treated to a food tasting session later where the menu comprised dishes which would be served on the event nights.

Gill and Liang will each be emcees for both nights respectively.

Hilton Petaling Jaya director of sales Vicky Tsang said the hotel was excited and privileged to sponsor the event.

“We do a lot of community work with various shelters. Being involved with StART Society is a natural extension to what we do,” she said, adding that their Kristal Ballroom was also recently renovated.

The Unexpected Guest comprises 12 cast members who are actors that have all been involved in the Malaysian theatre scene and used to doing live shows.

As The Unexpected Guest writer, Karynn said she was immediately attracted to take on this project because it was challenging, fun and entertaining for both the audience and the performers.

Also, she is a big fan of mystery novels such as Nancy Drew, Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie.

“The best part is that it is all for a good cause. The script is balanced but unconventional at the same time because it is not your regular A to Z plot. It took a few people to read through it to fill in the loopholes,” she said.

She added that getting the kids involved was a good cause to promote their talent at the show as well.

“These children at StART are so talented. Imagine what the world would miss out on if they were not given an opportunity to showcase their talents.”

StART Society has to date given at least over 600 students from 16 shelter homes across Klang Valley free education in the creative arts. Students who have been through StART’s rigorous training and programme have been through at least three years of tutelage, with three disciplines under their belt.

Freddy said it took two to three months to craft the plot and it was a big challenge to create some sort of realism and mystery.

“It is like a reality TV show. You cannot tell if a character will die in the end or not. That is the fun part,” said Freddy, adding that comedic elements would also be added in the plot.

Tickets to The Unexpected Guest are categorised into Gold (RM5,000 for VIP tables), Silver (RM4,000 for two units of second row tables), Regular (RM2,000 per table) and Single (RM200 per person).

For details and tickets, call StART Society on 03-7954 5423 or 016-3368185 or email startsociety.info@gmail.com.

Tags / Keywords: Community , News , Entertainment , StART Society , The Star , fundraising dinner , The Unexpected Guest

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