There is a group in Portland called Anonymous Theater. They put on fully-staged, one-night only productions. None of the actors know who else is in the production. They only find out the night of the performance, with an audience present. Their lines and blocking are memorized and it’s hugely entertaining. Jaynie Roberts, Artistic Director for Magenta Theater, decided to experiment with her company’s staged readings, known as Black Chair Projects, and try some anonymity.
The script is “Suite Surrender” a farce by Michael McKeever. A number of other companies have been producing this script lately, but none of them incognito! Actors have been provided with a script, their blocking (stage directions) and strict instructions to maintain secrecy. Actors must not divulge their involvement to friends, family or ANYONE. Actors will not rehearse together. Actors will not rehearse on stage. Actors will work individually at home, practicing their lines for fluid delivery. Actors will read their lines and blocking (stage directions) on the fly, with an audience present. Lights will come up and the first actor/actors will enter from the audience to deliver their first lines. Only then will actors begin to see who else is in the play.
The play “Suite Surrender” is set in 1942. Two of Hollywood’s biggest divas have descended upon the luxurious Palm Beach Royale Hotel. The two feuding divas arrive with assistants, luggage and a lap dog named Mr. Boodles. What happens next results in a hilarious riot of a love note to the classic farces of the 30s and 40s.