Wednesday, July 2, 2008

The 13th Birthday Party

The idea was to celebrate her 13th birthday. It's a big birthday and she's a good girl. The trick, however, was to find a party idea not yet done by neighborhood girls. The idea is originality without any originality. Don't you remember being 13?

The options:

Boys? No. 'Nuff said.

Make-over? Been there. Done that.

Slumber party. 17 girls? No.

So in stepped a big mouth named Caution. And this Caution person said, "I have the perfect idea! We shall have a murder mystery party. How hard could that be?"

And so, here we are the day of the party, and things are a mighty mess.

1st problem:

The murder mystery parties we found for teens typically were written for 8-10 girls. The ad may have said up to 20 girls, but that meant that 8-10 girls had real parts, and the others were "extras." Not good for a room full of insecurely, competitive 13 year olds.

2nd problem:

We then moved to the parties written for adults, but you can imagine what some of the themes were. Not good for a room full of young, but trying not to be 13 year olds.

3rd problem:

We finally settled on a 1957 class reunion theme which promised to be very clean and appropriate for church groups. I love that disclaimer. It was user friendly and easy to download. The problem was that it was written for couples. Not a problem, thought that Caution person. And she decided that she could rewrite all the boy parts and make all the couples into best friends. So the character, Bobby, who owned an air conditioning company became Bobbie who also owns an air conditioning problem company (gender equity, you know.)

The rewriting quickly became an ISSUE when it was discovered how interwoven each character's history was with all the other characters. So the former Bobby may have married Bonnie. Then I learned that Bobby once kissed Sally. Uh, okay.... Bonnie and Sally used to go for walks in the woods. Then it turned out that when Bobby kissed Sally in the woods, Fran (who was dancing with her boyfriend Frankie) saw Bobby and Sally and fell instantly in love with Bobby and that's why she killed Sally all these years later. The trouble was that Fran married Markie who doesn't know anything, but that doesn't matter because Markie actually used to date Melanie who....


Now it's not simply a matter of changing a boy's name to a girl's. Somehow the characters must be consistent with their genders (which must all be female.) There can certainly be no romance (all we need is for some 13 year old girl to go home and announce that Mr. and Mrs. Flag had a murder mystery party where her character had a crush on another girl.) And there must be a logical story line (interwoven as it is) tying each character to the others historically and currently.

In addition to that, the house must be transformed into a 1957-era setting.

I'm a mess. The party is tonight and I can't keep each character's identify clear in my head. Far beyond rewriting a few names, I've had to rewrite the entire murder mystery. As a little extra "fun," the game company suggests that guests try to silence each other with the murder weapons I am to provide. I know we'll be the headline in the newspaper tomorrow.

So tonight, think of that Caution person who so confidently declared that this party would be the best ever. And think of her curled up in a fetal position right now.

No comments: