offering customized Scavenger Hunts, Urban Games, and Interactive Experiences...
Ghost Hunt: Lincoln Park
Length: 2 hours Event: Fundraiser Players: General Public
Theatre Mir, a Chicago theater company, wanted an out of the ordinary Fall fundraiser. After discovering that Lincoln Park was formerly a graveyard, we created a historically-inspired scavenger hunt based on the only remaining tomb, the Couch Mausoleum.
Using a list of ghosts and clues, players wandered the park, interacting with ghosts portrayed by actors. Each ghost had a unique characteristic (It always lied, It wouldn't talk to you if you looked at it, etc...) and involved a certain level of interaction to decipher its identity.
Clues such as fake newspaper articles, crayon drawings by the child ghost, and the last will and testament of the ghost patriarch were scattered around key park locations. Teams would win by identifying all ghosts by name and a bonus prize was awarded to the team that could best explain the mystery behind all their deaths.
Prescott was fun to work with and came up with entertaining ideas. He folded actual Chicago history into a complex mystery and set up unusual interactions between players and ghosts - I personally loved the crying ghost, who would only help players once shown a picture of her long lost daughter. Prescott certainly knows his audience.
- Patrice Egleston, Theatre Mir Artistic Associate
Ghost Hunt: Lincoln Park
It Happened One Heist
Length: 3 hours Event: Date Night Players: An Adventurous Couple
A romantic client needed help creating the perfect first date for her two friends. The two soul mates were anonymously told to meet at the Violet Hour, a speakeasy-style bar, where they were told by their server that to receive their complimentary cocktails, they must first be handcuffed to each other. Following clues, they discovered they were on the run from the law following a "heist" complete with fake money bags. The evening ended over a sundae at a beach-side diner.
It has been so fun to tell to friends - a great night and a great story. The extra effort he put forth to customize a hunt makes it even more fun and memorable! -J. Scott, Client
Length: 60 minutes Event: Theatrical Experience Players: General Public Cocreator: Susie Gutowski
"It’s the perfect group date show in Williamsburg. Unlike most interactive shows you can choose to be very active or sit back and enjoy the action." -Grant Lindahl, theinterrobang.com
January 16, 2016 – New York City, NY – The popularity of shows such as Sleep No More and Escape the Roomproves the growing interest in interactive theater experiences, but they can fall short in terms of their actual interactivity or the theatricality of their performances. The Annoyance Theatre’s new comedy,Groundhog Date, has the best of both worlds: it is a true piece of theater that permits the audience to change the fates of the characters. In this show, members of the audience take the stage alongside the actors with one goal: to keep a troubled couple together. The couple clashes continually in a 5-minute loop, and the audience must learn from previous loops how to successfully manipulate the main characters, à la Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day. The show runs Fridays at 8 p.m. in February at the Annoyance Theatre at 367 Bedford Avenue in Williamsburg. For tickets, call (718) 569-7810 or visit www.groundhogdate.com.
“At its core, it’s a classic farce. It’s a storyline you’ve seen before, like a foul-mouthed version of a Frasier episode,” explains the show’s creator Prescott Gadd. “But instead of watching it, you’re a part of it. You’re the one creating the diversions, you’re the one keeping the secret lover hidden in the closet. It’s not a unique story, but is a totally unique experience.”
Groundhog Date is scripted but uses improvisational actors to make sure the audience’s ideas are incorporated into the action. The actors have prepared by studying different scenarios so they are prepared to follow the audience’s lead. Susie Gutowski, the show’s director adds, “We’ve tried to think of everything, but I can’t wait to see what the audience comes up with to keep this couple together.”
Anthony Oberbeck, Mitra Jourhari, and James Folta hold the fast and funny show together. The trio has impressive credits to their names. Oberbeck was featured in TBS’s Just for Laughs Festival and IFC’s Comedy Crib shorts, while Jouhari comes from TBS’s new late-night talk show Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, and Folta has writing credits that include The Onion and McSweeney’s and is a house-performer at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre. Oberbeck and Jouhari are also members of the Annoyance Theater’s critically acclaimed Holy Fuck Comedy Hour.
For those hesitant to join the fray, fear not. Only those who wish to participate will be asked to perform, and all are encouraged to offer solutions between loops. If you decide to take to the boards, the assignment is easy: play yourself.
Gutowski explains: “There’s no need to be an actor, say witty things, or develop some detailed backstory. Respond to questions as you normally would. And keep in mind that overt moves, like rifling under couch cushions or snooping in a bedside table, will be treated just as strange as if you did them in real life.”
Bachelor Party Cash Grab
Length: 3 hours Event: Bachelor Party Players: Group of Friends _______________________________________
"I just wanted to say that the scavenger hunt was amazing. It was probably one of the coolest things I've ever done and it felt so cool to feel like I was a part of the strike team surrounded by other characters on the Shield." -Jeff B, Bachelor
Jeff''s bachelor party was set to be 5 fantastic nights of drinking on a beautiful beach resort in San Juan, Puerto Rico. He asked his brother to make the final night something special, memorable, and interactive. His brother instantly knew that the perfect experience for Jeff would be living out a fantasy in his favorite TV show, The Shield.
The world of The Shield is full of cops, both clean and corrupt, gang members, drugs, cash, and betrayal. Thus began the very suspicious activity of hiding fake wads of cash and drugs throughout San Juan.
Teams were split into corrupt cops (The Strike Team), gang members (The One Niners), and clean cops (SJPD). Corrupt cops and gang members competed with each other to find as much cash and drugs as possible. Meanwhile, the clean cops were on the hunt, arresting the other teams, and recruiting them to their side.
Each of the criminal teams was whittled down through the evening, until only the bachelor remained. He scrambled to decipher clues and ultimately ended up with enough cash to buy a fake passport and plane ticket to a South American country with no US extradition treaty!
A Flushing Family Affair
gastronauts.net Length: 3 hours Event: Food Tasting Tour Players: Gastronauts Club Members
Gastronauts, a New York dining club with the mission "to taste the strange and authentic foods found on menus around this city," was used to limiting their events to one restaurant. This time around, they wanted to throw their members into the thick of Flushing's Chinatown, giving them them the knowledge of what carts and back-alley eats to try while allowing them the freedom to go to each at their leisure.
Players were teamed with friends and strangers into teams of five, each representing a family member trying to earn the inheritance of their recently deceased great grandfather. After receiving their instructions from the lawyer for the estate on the 7 train, players scanned a map of the area with points of interest highlighted in Chinese. Teams then explored new eateries and tried a combination of recommended foods like cumin lamb burgers and saline bean curd! Along the way, teams discovered items which were used to fill a large Jumble, the answer of which lead them to the final restaurant.
From there, awards were given, the winning team was announced, and everyone enjoyed a celebratory round of steamed dumplings.
"I.E. listened carefully to us and designed a game that not only hit every one of our requirements, but exceeded it by making it intelligent, fun, complex, and elegant. I.E. turned an ambitious list of items into a game of strategy, smarts, and creativity - allowing all types of players to contribute in their own way. Everyone had a terrific time, both during the creating of the game and during the playing."
The Playground Theater, a Chicago black box improv theater, wanted to hold a week-long upgraded version of Assassins. Players worked in teams of four to find and retrieve the "MacGuffin" an object which remained unknown to them until they discovered it. A different clue was sent to each team once a day.
A player from one team could "kill" a player from another team by getting them to say a "kill word." The killed player would then have to hand over their clue, giving the other team an advantage in finding the Macguffin.
A majority of player worked for Groupon customer service, so there was lots of inter-office highjinks trying to get their coworkers to say a kill word or write it in an email. The team that found the MacGuffin then had to hold on to it without dying for an extra day before claiming victory. __________________________________________
"Everyone arriving at the library at the same time was awesome and really intense"
- Various MacGuffin Players
MacGuffin Illustrations by Tim Reardon
Pirates of Central Park Lake
Length: 1 Hour Event: Birthday Party Players: Group of Friends
Rowboats fought each other in this pirates meets assassins birthday party on the Central Park lake.
Players were split into one couple per boat and randomly assigned a team. Each boat had no idea what other boats were on their team, so the initial round was a game of cat and mouse, as players rowed up to each other to get information and conclude if they were being lied to or not.
Action burst out as players figured out their teams and began attacking each other with "cannon" tennis balls. Prisoners were taken and exchanged and ammunition was resupplied by the neutral trading ship floating by.
The game concluded with one final battle as all ships attacked the two remaining survivors. When one was taken down, the other earned the title of King of the Lake!
Length: 30 minutes Event: Theatrical Experience Players: General Public Cocreator: Clayton Margeson
"Mindreader is easily the most intense, thrilling theatrical experience I’ve ever had, and I can’t wait to do it again." -Tom Lawler, Chicago Now
Looking for alternative entertainment, the Public House Theatre welcomed Mindreader, an interactive haunted house, to their stages.
Players would walk through the house one at a time, interacting with professional improvisers. If they made a wrong move, they could be "killed" and have to return to the lobby. The goal was to get past each character until they made their way to the final room, where they had to rescue a hostage from the villain.
The twist was that players could read the minds of each of the characters. This was achieved by each actor having a corresponding voice actor hiding behind a curtain, speaking into a PA system. The voice actor would convey the characters thoughts, allowing the player to manipulate the character by knowing the character's secrets.
The Game of Med-Life
Length: 3 hours Event: Senior Week Players: Graduating Class of Suny Downstate Medical School
During Senior Week at SUNY Downstate, the student council wanted to add a scavenger hunt as an afternoon activity option for their graduating seniors. Inspired by the major life changes these future doctors were about to go through, we created The Game of Med Life, a scavenger hunt in the vein of the board game "The Game of Life."
Starting in Coney Island, Brooklyn, the doctors boarded the MTA subway at the Q line and went from train car to train car, in search of a patient, who turned out to be a game of "Operation." Players then had to remove organs without getting buzzed while on a moving subway car.
From there, teams spread out on a non-linear scavenger hunt, visiting such locations as the Brooklyn Museum, Ample Hills Creamery, and a Metro PCS store with some very confused but encouraging employees. The hunt culminated with each team pushing a doctor carrying a "kidney" on a tricycle to a waiting patient. Each team was then given an end story based on the order they finished, whether they became a Nobel-winning researcher or a fad-chasing celebrity doctor.
"We had an ambitious plan for a scavenger hunt for a senior week event. Prescott worked with our event organizers to put together an event that was fun and challenging. We spent more money on other events for our senior week, but this was by far the most special and most enjoyed." - Andre Plair, SUNY Downstate Medical Council President
"I was half expecting a 'scavenger hunt' like the one... where we had to take lame pictures of our team kissing dolphin stuffed animals but this was WAY better! There was a ton of strategy and know-how involved. The LIFE theme was incredible." - Med Life Player