In the mood to time travel? I know a place, hidden away in a basement near China Town, where it’s always 1923. The stories are hot and the gin won’t make you go blind. But you have to know the password to go there.
The Speakeasy is an immersive play where you can wander different environments (a saloon, a casino, a cabaret and three secret places) to watch several interweaving stories taking place amongst the staff of a 1920’s speakeasy. Pick a story and follow the characters from room to room, or stay in one environment and see all the characters wander through.
I chose to mix it up, following a character for a while then exploring another room to pick up threads of different stories. I began with a mother and father hunting for the girl their son had loved; he had been killed during the Great War. Then I followed a man with a gambling problem into the casino and tried my own luck at craps. Turns out I’m pretty good. When a loud, obviously intoxicated woman dressed in flapper attire yelled at the gambling man for abandoning his children, I followed her out the door and into the cabaret. Finding a seat near the stage, I watched the performances. They reminded me of something I’d seen in a 1930’s movie, complete with live music and dancers in red sequins tap dancing.
A big man who was obviously the boss and dressed like a wealthy gangster asked me if I was having a good time. Deciding to follow him for a bit, I listened in on a “private” conversation about “supplies.” I ended my evening back in the cabaret where I watched a love story unfold between one of the Speakeasy’s guards and a dancer. I can’t tell you the ending of the show, but lets just say it was surprising yet appropriate for Prohibition.
I have a passion for the 1920’s and 30’s. The Speakeasy surpassed my expectations with the costuming, acting, decorations, and stories. I really felt that I was in a different time surrounded by real people, not actors. Even if you’re not a Deco/Flapper/Gatsby fan, you need to experience this theatrical event; there’s nothing like it.
However, there are rules you need to follow if you decide to go. Wear appropriate clothing. You don’t have to go in costume, but you do need to dress up as if you’re going to a fancy cocktail party. No technology! They didn’t have cell phones in 1923. And be quiet, or if you must speak, speak softly. There’s a reason it’s called a speakeasy.
Click the link to buy your ticket and learn the secret password. I promise, you won’t be disappointed.
(images from The Speakeasy)