LAS CRUCES, N.M. (KRQE) – An evening of mystery, inspired by the coronavirus. A unique theater production at New Mexico State University is showcasing how the virus spreads at large gatherings and what it takes to track the source.

A whodunit mystery with a 2020 twist. “At the event, someone contracted COVID and ended up in the ICU,” says Assistant Professor Nichole Hamilton.

In the upcoming production “Tracer” a student gets sick at a Halloween party. “So how did this person end up in the ICU? So, the contact tracer is serving as an investigator for foul play,” Hamilton says.

The play is being performed and live-streamed by the NMSU Theatre Arts department. “It’s a cool opportunity for theater to become more accessible for people who may not have been able to go see it in the first place,” says Senior Imani Caldwell.

Portions of the play are pre-recorded. Rather than meeting for in-person rehearsals, the live actors have been rehearsing over zoom and will all perform from NMSU’s Center for the Arts in separate rooms. “It’s really strange to meet with other people just in your bedroom and have to work on your character development and go through the play with everyone else over screen,” says Freshman Elia Vasquez.

Even though this performance will look a little different, these actors say they are grateful for the opportunity to create and tell a relevant story. “Art evolves with the times and it’s really cool,” says Senior Jet Montellano.

The play will be live-streamed at 7:00 p.m. each evening from November 11 to 18. Each performance will have an option post-show discussion with the audience. Tickets to the show will cost $12.