On December 31st, I had my biggest project to date, Spy Games: An Immersive Spy Thriller. It was performed at the New Year's Eve Gala hosted by the Greater Grand Forks Young Professionals (ggfyp.com) at the Gorecki Alumni Center at the University of North Dakota. The first 200 guests who arrived received a badge with a new name, a color code, and a brief bio on the back of the ID. These new identities ranged as diverse as "folk artist" to "President of a foreign country." Based on your biography, you may have to be on the look out for someone who has the next big idea you want to invest in, or perhaps someone who may want to assassinate you. From there, as guests settled in, suddenly the party was hijacked by Baron von Aval, an evil villain with a German accent who wanted to detonate a device which would disable all electronics in the state, causing our oil production to cease, and driving up the price of oil for his own personal investment portfolio. He was aided by his henchmen, the brilliant but lethal Dead End, and French beauty Sharpie Couteau. Despite being quickly dispatched by agent Colt Ryker, his sidekick Desmond Wayne, and young professional Jean Stewart, Baron von Aval gets the upper hand telling Ryker and Co. that the keycard to disable the device is hidden amongst the guests' badges. Using the audience to narrow down the badges to just one by midnight for a prize, it was an interactive piece of theatre, which became more interactive as the night wore on and the guests became more comfortable with these characters.
So how did it go?
The audience had an amazing time. Between the entertainment, catering, casino gaming, El Roco cash bar, raffle tickets, and Blu Light Productions providing dance music, the audience had fun ringing in the new year.
The new identities were amusing, as people naturally would check other people's badges to see how they should interact with them. Some attendees took the puzzle presented in Spy Games very seriously, trying to gain as many clues as they could from actors, or from other guests.
It was a big night for Conduit Theatre. It was a wonderful experience working alongside the Young Professionals. The Gorecki Alumni Center was beautiful with highly professional individuals who worked with us. Blu Light Productions also was great at improvising some solutions and helping lead the flow of the evening.
At last count, the evening raised over $1500 for the nonprofit organization Team Red, White, and Blue. This group helps veterans become part of the community, and they are a new chapter in Grand Forks (but have a national presence).
This all concluded the first year of Conduit Theatre. It felt good to finish the year strong, and I have plenty of projects to make 2016 even better!