We’ve been running Katie & Brittany‘s after-show drama talk for almost a year and I had yet to accompany them for a performance. Last week I was finally able to tag along for The Speakeasy, a new experiential performance in the Tenderloin. Here’s our report:
[photo by Peter Liu]
We’d heard a buzz about a unique underground club and theater in the Tenderloin. The folks at Boxcar Theatre have been working on an immersive theater piece that places audiences in the middle of 1920’s San Francisco. Speakeasy has lots of intrigue surrounding it, from the undisclosed location, to the interwoven stories being performed by embedded actors throughout the space. It was enticing enough to get our fearless leader, Ariel, out with us for a night of Drama Talk & Drinks.
Ariel: I loved that it was a world you could be in and not just be a passive audience member. I think they did a really good job of taking me to that place. To go from seeing them on the stage to a space where you could see the behind the scenes drama . . . it was amazing, I just wanted to go back and forth all night. (Ed. note: there was a space where you could spy on the dressing room through a one-way mirror)
Brittany: It was very cool. It was the ultimate in FOMO though. I kept wondering what was going on somewhere else. “Oh my god, there’s a noise in the other room should I be over there?”.
A: Did that bother you? I liked that about it.
B: I guess it bothered me in that I thought, what if I’m not getting everything I’m supposed to get out of the show?
Katie: That is exactly how I felt and I would say that it did bother me. I was trying to enjoy what was happening in front of me but I couldn’t get out of my mind “What’s going on in the other rooms?” Then there was that moment where we were supposed to follow the girl in the red dress and everyone got up and tried to follow her, but since everyone did that there was a bottleneck and we couldn’t get into the other room because of all the people. And I’m someone who doesn’t like crowds.
A: What made me enjoy it more was that the world wasn’t just propped up for me to see but the idea that this world is all around me and I’m just in it. I feel like if I walked into the room and the other rooms went dark it wouldn’t have felt totally immersive. But the idea that I could walk away from you guys and see something else and you guys are seeing something that I’m not seeing . . . It didn’t bother me that I didn’t see the whole story, I liked that about it. It’s just like regular life, we all got our different part of the story.
K: I don’t know, I live “regular life” enough, sometimes I just wanna go to a show and fucking be entertained. I’m in life twenty-fo-seven, I gotta pay $60 to feel life’s disappointments – the 1920’s version?
B: But this life has cool costumes.
K: That’s true.