For those of you not living in the UK, Secret Cinema (SC) might need a little explanation. The idea is that people buy tickets to see a movie without knowing what it is. They are given simple instructions about what to wear and what to bring, where to be and at what time. When they arrive at the location, they become part of the movie: the location has been transformed into the world of the film, and hundreds of actors wander around playing characters from the movie and getting the audience involved. The idea is to create a fully immersive experience that transforms the experience from being passive to active.
It might sound like a pretty niche idea, the kind of thing that only a few of your more dramatic friends would try, and that most people would find a bit awkward. But oh no, in the UK it has kicked off, big time. I mean really big time. Their last production before this one, Prometheus, where a huge abandoned warehouse in Euston was converted into the world of the film, was attended by 25,000 people over a period of 1 month, and included a special introduction by Ridley Scott. In total, almost 150,000 have attended screenings of the twenty odd productions they have produced.
For their latest production, Terry Gilliams 1985 classic "Brazil", SC took over a 13 floor abandoned British Telecom office block in Croydon. The scale of the production was just mind boggling - almost every floor of the building was converted into part of the set from the film, thousands and thousands of square meters of incredible attention to detail. It just has to be seen to be believed. Even Terry Gilliam himself, who attended one night, was impressed: he said the event was “a wondrously mad and spectacular undertaking ... The huge array of actors played their roles to the hilt as we roamed the labyrinthine, bureaucratic spaces. And like all overconfident systems, what could be more appropriate for the film’s director than to be trapped in a malfunctioning lift between interrogation floors. Torture, I suppose.” It's true, he did get stuck in a broken lift.