Even though they like jangle out of storage bins to dance in October, skeletons don’t smash carved stories for Halloween like the Alchemist Theatre. Per tradition, Artistic Director Aaron Kopec brings a bit of intrigue to the fall season with his choose-your-own-adventure mystery drama Closing Night.
A cerebral crime story, Closing Night challenges its cast to lead the audience out of their seats on a fluid and nerve turning journey through the depths of the Alchemist Theatre space, to learn the dark secrets of its murky past, and fates of the present day Alchemist ensemble that has succumb to the theater’s sanguine lineage.
Two cooky spirit mediums lead the audience’s haunted tour of the Alchemist’s history, hinting at clues along the way that reveal who, with what, and why the Alchemist’s present day company were murdered. The secrets lie within the twisted tale of the theater founders Montecore and Lillian’s charmed lives and deaths, and the artifacts of the current company’s contribution to the Alchemist’s canon.
In the story, the Alchemist’s director Trisha is a distant relative of Lillian’s, who’s productions have tremendous success reviving the theater’s magic through the type writer pecks of her writer Maggie, and the ensemble of type cast usual suspects: a guy everyone can agree on, Mitch, a vixen, Lucille, and a offbeat maintenance man, Don, and a newcomer, Sheila. In a flash, they are all dead, or are they?
Once presented the nebulous prologue, the audience must shed their voyeuristic tendencies (that brought them to the theater in the first place) and use their wits, and unwits, to uncover the well hidden hints to the case of the deceased Alchemist cast. Cryptically written messages on walls, decoys and dead ends are plenty as you go from the theater, to the lounge, to the cellar, to the writer’s office, the workshop, the catacombs, and the film studio.
If you are clever you will activate one of the many sensory hotspots that detect motion, sound or touch, and take one step closer to putting the pieces of the plot together. Most of the clues are found interactively, by noticing a combination of tip-offs located in the wall art, note pads, and other furnishings that make up the multiple staging areas of the production. Although you are encouraged to touch props and set pieces, an astounding aspect of the show is that nearly every clue is hidden in plain sight.
All in Good Fun
Rather than try to scare a weird expression out of you, Closing Night presents a great Halloween themed date night for couples and friends. Its a great activity as talking is acceptable during most of the show, and it will either leave you feeling either very smart or feeling like you need to accept that free online trial of Luminosity. Light hors d’oeurves are served with the quip humor of Alchemist’s core performers including Anna Figlesthaler, Libby Amato and Sammy Ditloff and host of other notables.
Closing Night runs heathen weekends (starting on Thursday) at 7:30p from now until November 2 at the Alchemist Theatre.