I did the craziest thing this past weekend. I had dinner with strangers. But that, believe it or not, was only half the crazy. The dinner took place at a secret location and drama, of some sort, was promised to go down at this dinner—it’s what I signed up for. The secrecy, impending drama, and the catered 3-course dinner were enough reasons for me to show up.
What I attended (and thoroughly enjoyed) was a new performance concept that fuses dinner with an immersive theatre experience, called Show:UP!, hosted by the WBM Group. There is no obvious start to the performance—the lights don’t dim and no curtains rise. But rest assured the experience starts the moment you walk through the door, so pay attention. And, if you take a look around the space, your face may already be in a photo frame or two as a prop.
There are side conversations (some meant to be overheard) and secret texts during the evening. Some attendees know more than others, and some are even guided to mislead you. As the night transpires, the lines between reality and fantasy blur right before your eyes. I truly felt what it must be like in the Twilight Zone at this dinner; it was amazingly confusing and entertaining.
Between the great acting, impeccable timing of events, perfect planning and attention to detail in the room, I was convinced at one point during the experience that I—among a group of ten—was the only one not in on the joke. The Show:UP! crew know how to put on a show, and their food partners in She Caters, know how keep the crowd’s taste buds satisfied.
Show:UP! Creative Director and Brooklyn native, William Bryant Miles, helped develop the performance concept as part of his passion for and professional experience in the Arts. “I was frustrated with the experience of going to theatre,” says Miles. “Sitting in a dark room for several hours next to strangers with whom I had no relationship or interaction, and where I was penalized for using my phone or engaging with the person next to me felt disconnected from our contemporary lifestyles. I wanted to create something that allowed people to experience the work the way they experience life—by talking, engaging, tweeting, and taking pictures, but still get a heightened experience,” he added.
Show:UP! was truly an enjoyable and unforgettable experience; I’m still replaying moments from the performance and dinner in my head. I entered the dinner among strangers, but left with friends as we bonded over the food, fun and drama.
The group hosts events in New York, D.C. and Philly. The next Show:UP! experience in New York is March 21 and the word is spreading fast about this group, so get your tickets sooner rather than later! Tickets include the performance experience, food and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, and they accommodate for any dietary restrictions.
So show up and enjoy the drama (and dinner)!