At Shadows Interactive Dinner Theater, which recently opened in downtown Macon, every one is a suspect.” Every Friday night is interactive Murder mystery night.
“When you walk in the door you receive an envelope,” explained Jacqueline Akins, who is the visionary behind this new venture. “Inside the envelope are a photo badge and a character description. You become that character all night long.”
Your “description card” tells you everything you are to say and do throughout the evening as you mix and mingle amongst other suspects. Costumes and makeup are provided for those willing to participate fully; however not being in costume does not take away from the fun neither from the mystery.
There are generally three acts, in Act one, you are stirring up controversy,” she continued. “So everybody walks in a suspect.”
Mixing and mingling and becoming acquainted with one’s character comprise the first act. At the beginning of the second act, (while still continuing in character) everyone trades in their ticket for dinner. It is at this point when someone finds out they are the victim and someone else finds out they are the villain. No one else knows the identity of either. When a person is informed they are that night’s victim, they are given a set of instructions about what actions to take during the second act. The third act contains the reveal and the resolution.
To break up the monotony of tension, games are added in between acts. Akins superbly directs the action using the audience as her actors. It’s a fascinating approach to theater and something exciting for the Macon theater scene.
“Some of them will take it to a whole other level,” she quipped. “But as long as they don’t falsify any of the information, it only adds to the enjoyment.”
Akins believes her target audience is an older, more mature crowd — couples and business people who might not regularly come downtown for the bars and nightclubs. She wants to offer something amusing and different and, she explained, she’s here to stay. In fact, the theater’s web address is LongLiveShadows.com, making clear her intent to build her business into a popular venue for entertainment downtown.
While the Friday night mystery parties are a marvelous component, Shadows is diversified in its offerings. On Saturdays, they currently offer specially-designed mystery parties for families, friends or office parties.
In her quest to be “here to stay,” Akins continues to explore concepts such as scavenger hunts and game nights at the theater. She says will never cease to try new and fun concepts, keeping what works and getting rid of what doesn’t. By relying on feedback and results to direct future offerings, Akins may have found the key to making her moniker, “Long Live Shadows,” a reality
by Jonathan Dye