I’m following the Red Guide in a group of 20. The air is chilly and we’re not allowed to speak. Passersby look at the group with amazement and curiosity in their eyes but we’re all “in the zone” experiencing immersive theatrical production “Guess My Name” by Secret Societies. Six scenes unravel in six different locations including at a water tower on the roof, at Irving Square Park, and defunct trails. I think I’m not the only one to say that it’s the experiences like attending “Guess My Name,” that make me extremely grateful to be part of Bushwick.
Earlier this week, we have hinted in Bushwick Secrets newsletter (sign up for it here!) our affection for the loft, ceilings of which are so tall you can easily rig aerial silks from it. Located at the Eldert Lofts building (345 Eldert St #317) just off Halsey L train stop, Urban Circus is also a home to theatrical company Secret Societies. Secret Societies blends “cirque aerial acrobatics, dance, theatre, and live music, telling tales of magic, mystery, and madness.” Each member of the crew is incredibly versatile, so the Secret Societies provides breathtaking experiences like you hardly experienced around Bushwick before. Furthermore, the members rotate in direction of their plays, so every piece they come up with is completely different from the other.
After a successful, almost sold out run during the month of September, Guess My Name will be performed one last time–this Saturday (October 11 at 9PM). The site-specific play has been created and directed by Urban Circus’ founder Seanna Sharpe. Accomplished aerialist and dancer has called upon classic literature such as “The Master and Margarita,” “Dante’s Inferno,” and Mark Twain’s “The Stranger,” as well as musical masterpiece “Sympathy for the Devil” when creating a site specific piece, which takes a look at Devil’s side of things. “Satan himself is variously portrayed by six different players: actors, dancers, aerialists, and musicians – each of whom exposes another side of his personality, drawing parallels between humanity and the heavenly.” Guess My Name, despite being fractured into six scenes interestingly comes together as a piece and most importantly–it will make your heart pound!
The first scene took place in the Urban Circus loft.
After breathtaking aerial performance in the loft, the entire audience was directed to follow one of Red, White or Black Guides. We were lead to Irving Square Park where the next scene took place.
An escalating conversation between a lady and a foreign gentleman or perhaps an old friend (or the Devil himself?) occurs in the Park.
The staircase of the Eldert Lofts building, was the location for a scene of correspondence between the Lord and the Lucifer.
After the staircase scene and chills on my back, we moved to all the way to the most glorious of the scenes–the rooftop! There the actors performed Sympathy for the Devil by Rolling Stones, while aerialists performed with silks rigged from the water tower construction. One word: AMAZING!
During the following scene we witness Margarita’s madness who makes a deal with the devil and descends into his darkness. This scene is a merger of Dante’s “Inferno” and Bulgakov’s “The Master and Margarita.”
After this scene audience is again instructed to silently follow the respective guide. This time to a warehouse where shadow puppet play is being performed about a serpent who descents into the shadows.
…The piece ends with a conversation between two rails “derailing all that you thought you knew about God, the Devil, and Evil.” (Don’t worry! it’s safe, just make sure to wear comfortable shoes!)