Only one more night of (the first run of) The Shadow Space. It has been tremendously successful as both a show and an experiment. The audience's reactions to the experience has been overwhelmingly good. With people writing to say,
"Amazing! I've done 63 escape rooms and I've never done anything like it."
and "I'm telling everyone they have to experience it."
We have learned so much about audience dynamics, how people will form alliances and how, occasionally, leaders of the group arise. The guests have been purposely given freedom to explore and experience the event in their own way. Some follow the actors, leaning in for an intimate connection to the character's within the story. Some chose to spend their time finding clues and solving puzzles, nearly ignoring the "living" in the house.
Often there is mob mentality or group emotional swing and you can feel people becoming louder and more boisterous, or alternately more quiet and reflective. Sometimes one "bad seed", an aggressive, invasive guest, looking to break rules can throw the experience off for all the other participants. For this reason we are glad we have established code words to let the "spirit guides" know we need help.
The show has made me think a lot about terminology as the audience seldom calls themselves an "audience", but, rather, "guest", "player" or "visitor". Also, they seldom refer to The Shadow Space as a show but rather an "event", "experience", or a "game". They don't say they want to come see or watch it but rather "visit" or "play." Their words indicate an active role of participation and of their time in it as collaborative. It is this evolution of terminology that I have chosen to write my MFA thesis on.
Acting regardless of people with wildly varying agendas around us has been fascinating as well. There has to be an element of awareness about the guest because, try as they may to get out of our way, they may occasionally not see us coming and be standing directly in our path. It's also difficult to not notice their progress in finding a clue or solving a puzzle as it propels the narrative throughout. I have been moved emotionally during the show when I have heard people trying to comfort Blair as she cries.
"It's going to be alright, we'll make sure you get justice."
I heard someone say in such a heartfelt manner. She has said other have asked if they can hug her. I love so much that they feel invested to the extend that they are IN the story, they are it.