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Surprise Surveillance Theater: An Experimental Drama with Unwitting Stars Surprise Surveillance Theater: An Experimental Drama with Unwitting Stars

Surprise Surveillance Theater: An Experimental Drama with Unwitting Stars

by Andrew Price

April 29, 2011

Surprise Surveillance Theater is the latest from Jason Eppink, an artist we've covered many times in the past.

Surprise Surveillance Theater was an interactive theater experience, performed live for hundreds, unbeknownst to the unwitting stars of the show. It was part of the Lost Horizon Night Market, an extraordinary, modular, participatory art party that takes place in unmarked box trucks on low-traffic back streets in New York City.

The goal was to take unwitting revelers and throw them into a narrative about a black market, requiring the target to pass secret notes, have rendezvous, wear a wire, and make a mystery delivery. All of this was watched by a live audience on more than a dozen TVs showing footage captured by strategically placed video cameras, but the scope of the experience was only revealed to the target at the very end when he or she delivered a secret package to the waiting audience.

The actors might not be the most convincing black market movers and shakers, but the idea is pretty fun nevertheless.

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