Listening In: The Making of Anonymous (Part 2)


The key to solving Anonymous is exploration and eavesdropping.  We have taken the entire store of Red Rock Books, every nook, cranny, and secret hiding place, and turned into a theatrical wonderland for one night.  We wanted to create an experience where audiences had the freedom to roam around this amazing bookstore and stumble upon secrets.  It’as more than just watching a play; It’s living the play.  More than ever before, our audience controls the way the story unfolds for them.  By exploring Red Rock Books, our sleuths are encouraged to snoop, pry, eavesdrop, and even account for their own whereabouts in one of the most original mysteries we have ever created.  Writer/director Daniel Stallings will tell us below how this unusual game mechanic works.


Peek through the shelves.  Peer around corners.  Listen at doors.  And keep your eyes peeled.  These are the ways to play the game we call Anonymous.  Anonymous is a highly experimental show for me.  Its structure is very non-traditional, and it had never been done before in our city.  Until now.


As described in Mission Brief: The Making of Anonymous (Part 1), the genesis for the idea of eavesdropping on the actors’ performances came from the venue itself.  With an entire bookstore to explore and play with (a dream of mine since childhood), I knew I wanted to find a way to get guests into every corner of the store, to see everything the store has to offer.  A game Red Rock Books employed during one of their Independent Bookstore Day events was a scavenger hunt, and it was a huge success.  It was a perfect base structure for Anonymous.  It allowed people the freedom to explore; Properly planned, it could get them in every nook and cranny of the bookstore.  And with the right timing, our audience could discover some wicked little secrets while searching for clues.


Planning this unusual show was no easy feat.  To allow audiences freedom of movement, we had to ensure certain scenes would repeat for the benefit of our guests.  We kept these scenes brief, so repeating them would not eat up too much time.  And we scheduled the event rigorously, timing everything as precisely as possible so as to reach as much audience penetration of our scenes as possible.  Only then could we be more certain that the guests could explore the store as openly and freely as possible.


Performing in Anonymous can really make you feel like a secret agent.  Every move our agents made in their mission was carefully coordinated and timed.  Watches were synchronized to ensure everyone hit their mark at the right time.  Positions were scouted and mapped out beforehand to ensure that the entire store was used, that we didn’t waste any space in our show.  The audience will have free reign to discover all our carefully concealed secrets.


The fun in Anonymous comes from the snooping.  Our best suggestion for those playing the game is to embrace the sly nature of the story.  Pay attention to the store around you, keep your ears open, and search everywhere.  You never know what sinister things you might stumble upon.  Listen in on our agents, because the truth must be known.  Only you can catch Anonymous.  But be warned: what you find in this scavenger hunt may not be what you seek.  And never judge a book by its cover.


Agents, you have learned how the game will be played.  But who are the players?  The cast of Anonymous will give their dossiers and impressions on the characters in our next behind-the-scenes feature–Secret Identities: The Making of Anonymous (Part 3).

We can’t wait to see you at the show!

–Master Mystery Productions

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