Wild Party by The Speakeasy Society

Large scale event made for traditional theater audiences as well as fans of immersive theater.

Run: February 3, 2018 (2 shows)
Experienced: February 3, 2018
Location: Masonic Lodge
Address: 926 Santa Monica Blvd, Santa Monica, CA 90401
Price: $150.00 (up to $200.00 closer to premier)
Audience Size: 100
Runtime: 90-105 minutes
More Information: Wild Party, The Speakeasy Society, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

The Speakeasy Society

The Speakeasy Society seized a great opportunity to expose immersive theater to a traditional theater audience (patrons of The Broad Stage) and completely knocked it out of the park. They produced a large scale event for 100 participants, performed twice in one night, that was both accessible to traditional theater audiences as well as satisfying to fans of the immersive theater genre.

Many of the cornerstones I love about immersive theater were present in Wild Party: multiple tracks, splitting from your party, one on ones, conversing with characters, and complex traversal through a unique venue. Some things I usually don’t see in immersive theater were also present: open bar, food, a live band, and large song and dance routines with over 20 actors.

This was quite a production and it was amazing how flawless it ran given this was essentially opening (and closing) night. There were a lot of moving parts with 10 tables of 10 guests each being escorted in and out of the main ballroom into smaller rooms throughout the venue.

Wild Party begin with being handed a card to denote the banquet table that would be your home base for the evening. The cards were passed randomly so it was almost guaranteed if you came in with someone you’d get different tables. As we walked into the ballroom we were welcomed personally by F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald and they encouraged us to get a drink at the bar.

Thus began the immersive experience. For 30 minutes guests trickled into the main hall getting drinks, appetizers, and desserts while mingling with actors representing various people from Hollywood’s Golden Age. This was a brilliant way to introduce us to the characters in a casually scripted setting. I got to meet a starlet past her prime, a convincing but pushy talent agent, the owner of MGM Studios, and Buster Keaton. The introduction of characters was so organic that every guest had a different vantage point and insight into the story before the show “officially” began.

When it started we all took our seats and were welcomed to the party with a shared scene in the ballroom before being split up and dispersed in our groups. In the smaller room scenes groups would combine or get split even further. As we would leave one room sometimes people would randomly be picked to go elsewhere for smaller scenes for just a couple of guests. It was all very complex, dynamic, and exciting to watch. We were escorted back to the ballroom to get more food and drink and another shared scene. We went through the cycle one more time before coming back to the ballroom for the finale.

There may be a remount of Wild Party so I won’t go too deep into the narrative but it seemed everyone enjoyed their time. The only complaint I heard is people wished the show was longer. That’s high praise for a piece running at about an hour and 45 minutes (if you showed up when doors opened). It was a fantastic night out and there were so many different tracks I can’t imagine how much time was put into the script and rehearsal.

Kudos to The Speakeasy Society for pulling off a show of this size and for introducing the joys of immersive theater to an audience of traditional theater goers.