Local Theater Group Produces St. Valentine’s Day Zoom Massacre

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(Charlie Jarrett, Photographer)
Starlight Player, Teri Gooden, will be playing Calamity Payne in the OrSVP’s Valentine Mobsters, Molls and Mayhem.

    The Orinda Starlight Village Players (OrSVP) return in February with a new St. Valentines Day themed Zoom experience. The game, Valentine Mobsters, Molls and Mayhem, is set on Valentine’s Day, San Francisco, 1926, six years after the events of the St. Valentine’s Day Massacre in Chicago.
    Unlike most Murder Mystery games in which attendees try to guess the murderer from a colorful cast of characters, this game flips the premise. Attendees infiltrate two rival mobs to get the dirt on the gangsters and create a confrontation to wipe them both out.
    Written and directed by Malcolm Cowler, the game, based on a loosely scripted improv event, encourages audience participation and involves problem solving and information gathering.
    “We want to encourage and respond to interactions as much as possible,” said Cowler.
    The shows are free, although donations are encouraged. To reserve links for the Zoom show, email info@orsvp.org. Performances start on Valentine’s Day (Feb. 14) at 8 p.m., then run Tuesday and Thursday evenings at 7 p.m. through March 11. Visit www.orsvp.org for dates and times.
    The local theater group normally runs three productions over the summer months at the Orinda Community Center Park Amphitheater. When last year’s shows needed to be cancelled due to the pandemic, Cowler started experimenting with Zoom to put together interactive murder mystery games.
    This marks OrSVP’s fourth Zoom production to keep patrons in touch with the theater group and keep people from going stir crazy. OrSVP’s actors – each in their own Zoom window – perform the show while the online audience interacts with the various characters and unravels puzzles to solve the mystery, or, in this case, incite a conflict.
    Last year would have marked OrSVP’s 37th year producing shows in the Orinda Community Center Park.
    “None of us have been able to experience all the joys of theater in the park,” said Marketing Director Suzan Lorraine. “As a result, no money is coming in to pay for storage of set pieces, costumes and props and the rights or set supplies for the planned 2021 shows.”
    In addition to the Zoom games, Lorraine set up a GoFundMe page to help raise needed monies to support the little theater company through the year. Visit

www.gofundme.com/f/Orinda-Starlight-Village-Players for more information.
    At this point, the group is uncertain whether they will be able to produce plays in the park this summer or will have to hibernate for another year. “It’s financially touch and go as to whether we’ll be able to return,” said Lorraine.
    For more information and to make reservations for Valentine Mobsters, Molls and Mayhem, visit www.orsvp.org or email info@orsvp.org.

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