Bay Street Theatre’s First Foray into Immersive Theatre, Tom Salamon scam A fun way to challenge your independent thinking, improvise and explore the Sag Harbor area you may never see. But we are getting ahead of ourselves.
when my fellow Dan’s paper Editor Oliver Peterson and I entered Bay Street on the first night of the preview, and we were assigned to one of five teams, the Orange Team, which was paired with a mysterious masked man named Steve (though to be fair, we were both is encouraged to stay masked so it’s not that mysterious). After the rest of the line was full, the lights in the hall dimmed, and a well-dressed gentleman played by Gabriel Portuondo drew everyone’s attention to the TV screen, and we saw that Hence the dramatic backstory of deception master Ben (Ben). Everyone in the audience is invited to gather there that night. Portuondo speaks quickly and furiously, setting the stage for our adventure into the (thankfully fictional) gloomy heart of Sag Harbor.
He then prompted Ben’s autopsy recording, played by a famous actor that only longtime Bay Street supporters could have guessed. Although only a recording played on the small screen, the performance is powerful and moving, engaging the audience to help a seemingly benign con man take down a more sinister con man named Eddie “The Hammer” Hammersmith. To do this, we need to complete one last quest: Fare Thee Well.
But first, we had to prove we could complete five smaller tasks, so the groups were separated with five combination-locked boxes and clues to their first rendezvous. This is where the adventure begins, each group is guided to a different starting point in Sag Harbor – private townhouses, gallery basements and other exclusive attractions that even Sag Harbor residents may not have seen – and each group rides Bikes go through each meeting point once. Even if you don’t like unconventional theater or group activities, this behind-the-scenes tour alone can make the show worth it.
Team Orange’s first clue leads us to Grady (Jonathan Randall Silver), whose super, frantic energy quickly reminds us that time is of the essence. He introduced us to our first timed intelligence test, which didn’t require much, just a minimum level of knowledge of musical sight-reading. Unfortunately, Oliver and I don’t even have that level of expertise, so it’s good that we’re paired with someone who does. That challenge unlocked our first locked box, which contained instructions for the first quest we needed to complete: the poked pig. Like many scams that followed, this required some acting and deception. Around, our first set of challenges provided great excitement, taking Silver’s electrical performance as an example.
Our next set of trials is introduced by the delightful Wendy (Ally Callaghan), her delightful humor and simple challenges are a delightful reminder that while our speed and intelligence are being tested, it is ultimately a worthwhile one. Fun game to enjoy. Callahan’s blunt art criticism is a scene highlight. Our email recipients then took a few minutes to reply, probably due to the show’s time balance, which kept the faster team from getting into a scene occupied by the other team.
Once we get the green light, the orange team goes to a bar – though not the one you think – to help sly Danny (Joe Pallister) swindle some cash from the unsuspecting bartender. But first, we have to prove our worth on an intelligence test, which is very difficult, but very satisfying once we solve the equation. Pallister’s acting is natural and easy, as if there is no character at all.
We then meet Eloise (Rachel Feldman) at possibly the most unique meeting point for two fairly simple tasks: find some clues and play together. In part two, The Real Con, we meet Hammer (Eddie Casa) himself, and things get tense. Eloise tries to seduce and approach Hammer while hiding her obvious insinuations, and throughout, he exudes a commanding, distrustful air that seems ready to call her a bluff. The two actors brought out each other’s energies brilliantly and delivered the show’s most dramatic performance, which was certainly welcome considering that this particular pleasure consisted mostly of sitting and watching a riveting scene.
In The Final Trial, we arrive at Jackie’s (Elena Faverio) meeting place, where we have our toughest mission yet. That’s when we realized that, literally, losing was not an option. We got bonus time for failing to solve the puzzle within the allotted time, but also failed. The benevolent Jackie basically had to spell the name of the song we should have guessed, which may have scarred our self-esteem a bit, but that didn’t stop us from facing the second part of their challenge. We also failed, though not for lack of wisdom. Getting ready for a quick pull on the poor sap calling the number I provided, I quickly realized I didn’t have cell service and implemented a workaround. As challenging as the penultimate scene is, it’s a personal favorite thanks to the bubbly charm Faverio brings to their infectiously joyous characters.
After everything we’ve faced, it’s finally time for all the teams to return to Bay Street for Fare Thee Well. While we’re all looking forward to the climax and every team talking to each other, the hammer is back, more intimidating than ever. It’s up to the team to work together and remember key information learned throughout (hint: emails received) to let him down. What a satisfying conclusion this is.
all in all, scam A fun, engaging adventure from start to finish. The story offers a unique interpretation of local history, and the adventure offers a behind-the-scenes tour of Sag Harbor, challenging and testing a variety of skills, with each actor skillfully balancing their colorful characters with those of the game’s guide. This is a rare immersive experience not to be missed.
scam The show continues at the Bay Street Theatre from Thursday, March 31st to Sunday, April 3rd. For more information and tickets, call the Box Office at 631-725-9500 or visit baystreet.org.