BUILDING CLUB DROSSELMEYER PART 2: A VENUE, DATES AND A FABULOUS DIRECTOR!

Hello fans of Drosselemeyer everywhere! Here’s your handy dandy update on how things are going with our immersive production of Club Drosselmeyer!!

I know I’ve been quiet blog-wise but in fact things have been BUSY in Dross-land. It started with confirmation that we’re officially running the show at OBERON on Arrow St. in Harvard Square Sunday December 11th and and Friday December 16th. 

"THAT OBERON?" You say, "The one right in the center of  Harvard Square, run by the award-winning American  Reparatory Theater??!!"

"ENTHUSIASTIC YES!" I say. What a spot!! The ART has been  downright amazing in helping us put this whole thing  together- especially since they’re dealing with a bunch of  crazy vintage game designers and swing dancers… not your  standard OBERON fare. Turns out OBERON is an incredible force in making original theater happen in Boston and after a fairly extensive application process, our show was accepted! They've been helping with everything from seats to drinks to tech all as a nonprofit with the goal of helping us build awesome stuff and break even! I had no idea we had this incredible resource right here in Boston!!!

As for our images, we've moved from our Sugaplum purple to Drosselmeyer red. Caus you'll see when you're there- that Club Drosselmeyer is awash in rich red curtains. The incredible Elise Roth (is there anything that girl can’t do?) redid the designs so you can see them right here: 

Club Drosselmeyer will be up on the OBERON site this month (we hope.) 

The coolest part about this place is that it already has the feel of a night club: full bar, great entrance, stage, raised seats, tables. We’re going to do what they call a half-cab… or a half cabaret. We’ll have those amazing booths and table up on the balcony. (Possibly)

We're still figuring out the ideal ticket prices but it looks like it will be somewhere around $35 for early bird tickets, $55 for regular tickets and $75 for fancy seat tickets. It may seem steep but with original swing-nutcracker scores by Danny Fratina, a full 8 piece band, 5 dance groups, costumes, set, actors, puzzles… we actually won’t even be able to cover the cost of the show if we sell out all 150 tickets both nights. Crazy right? But apparently most productions rely on grants and sponsors so we’re going to need to lean on our community for micro (and not micro) donations to cover the show costs. More on that later but I’ll especially be leaning on you fabulous people who signed up for the mailing list to help me get the word out!!

But - more about the show. Those wonderful people at the Engagement Game Lab at Emerson College happened to hold a Theater Game Jam this May, where I met my immersive theater soul-mate, Carly Dwyer-Naik. Carly is an experienced director/producer/teacher who’s been running the Concord Carlisle High School Theater dept for the last 10 years. That’s cool- but the part that is REALLY amazing is that Carly has been a LARPer for as long or longer. If you’ve never heard of LARP before- it’s a Live Action Role Play. The idea is that you’re a character in a story, which unfolds around you with certain rules. 

Both Carly and I have been thinking a lot time about where LARPs and games and theater intersect. LARPs are amazing- but the barrier to entry is high. People spend hours and hours learning their characters, learning the rules and figuring out how to play, that’s just not something you can ask of people unless they have a high level of commitment. Theater is awesome… but all those sets, all those worlds and I have to watch other people play in them- seems a little outdated to me. Then there are games, which are my medium but still I play so much in digital- I want to be IN a game. Carly was thinking along the exact same lines, and wait until you see the crazy stuff we’re coming up with. Carly and I agree on a bunch of things:

  • We’re not building this for an audience to sit and watch (though they can if they feel like it) our guests are players. Our actors are Non-Player-Characters

  • At no point will we stop the evening to make people watch a story unfold. You want a story, you have to find it.

  • Players should have agency in this story

  • There are multiple levels of entry, if people want to just dance or just listen to the music. Or even just sit and drink martinis and not engage in the story at all, they’ll still have an excellent evening.

  • One key part is that everyone is IN this world. We are all in a club in 1939- everyone is complicit. 

Our cast is ready to go and we’ve already started on some great character workshops trying to figure out- how exactly do you make something that’s not quite a LARP and not quite a play. I know Carly and I are in lockstep because when people tell her “it’s like Dinner Theater?” she says “NO!!!!” And so do I- because you can’t affect a dinner theater story, but Drosselmeyer- who knows what will happen. Even we don’t know what will happen. And that’s what makes it so wonderful and terrifying. That’s also why nobody else does it this way- what self-respecting artist is willing to give up their story to chance like that??!! Well apparently we are. 

Stay tuned, folks, it’s coming along!!! We’re not sure what it will come out like, but we know that it will be like nothing you’ve ever played before!