Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Guest blog: Tameri Etherton and the strangest play ever seen

This edition of Written Words is something I've never done before: I'm re-blogging a post by San Diego-based independent author Tameri Etherton. Tameri was witness to the new dramatic phenom, Accomplice.

Tameri originally wrote this post on her own blog, A Cup of Tea and Sorcery, on May 17.

The concept of Accomplice seems to me to be a new medium for story-telling, which means writing. So for an explanation of a new way of expression, and a possible new outlet for writers — take it away, Tami!

Accomplice: The stangest play I've ever "seen"

My instructions were simple: Sunday. San Diego’s Little Italy. Noon. Go to State and Fir. Look for the eyeball. Wait there. You will be approached by a man who will give you directions. Follow his instructions… wear walking shoes!

That’s pretty much all I knew about this "play" I was going to see with my friend and writing pal, Christine Ashworth. Had I done a little bit of homework, I would’ve known that Accomplice ”offers a completely unique theatrical experience, unlike any found on any stage, taking its audience on an adventure through the city streets. You’ll be sent on a mission, aided by clues and mysterious cast members strewn throughout various locations such as street corners, bars and out-of-the-way spots.”

Um, yeah, that would’ve been great to know beforehand, but really I’m glad I went in not knowing what to expect. I mean, THIS was our stage:

Scene where the action began
 Pretty cool, right? After getting our instructions, we set off on our adventure. It took us a few minutes to figure out the clues, but once we did, we rocked it.

Nothing was safe from our prying eyes!

Part of the fun were the businesses that got involved in the play. They had clues for us, but we had certain tasks to complete first. Sort of like on The Amazing Race, but without all the stress or other competitors chasing after us. Plus, we got food and wine. Sweet!

The chips and dip here were divine.
We dashed around San Diego’s Little Italy and I saw parts of my city that I’ve never seen before. We’d duck into shops and around corners discovering new things. The pub we went to in the pic above I’ll definitely return to for lunch or dinner, as well as the final restaurant. The play was as much a love letter to San Diego as it was an adventure, which I absolutely adore.

Another great thing about this play? Whatever food or beverages you consumed, you totally worked off running up and down the streets! We must’ve walked five miles. Okay, maybe just two, but still. It was a hot day and damn, my glutes were burning after some of those inclines.

When the play ended, I was a little sad. I was having so much fun, I didn’t want it to be over! By then, I was fully invested not only in the story, but the characters were so charming I loved hanging out with each of them and wanted to meet more. But alas, all good things must come to an end. Afterward, Christine and I hung out to watch other groups come through. Watching them and their reaction to the end of the play was almost as much fun as when we experienced it ourselves.

Our partners in crime also stayed with us for a bite to eat and we ended up talking about books. Turns out, Jeff, Holly, and Tiny are avid readers! Tom (Christine’s husband and one of the actors in the play) was able to join us between groups. He’s not pictured to keep his identity a secret. It was a delightful afternoon spent chatting with friends about words. Bliss.

Our fellow conspirators: Jeff, Holly, and Tiny

Obviously, not all of you live near San Diego, but if you do go see Accomplice! It’s fun, quirky, and a good time. There are other cities that do this sort of thing, so check it out and see if you live near a town that does. Or, get together with some friends and make up your own play for a summer treat. Okay, maybe that was just crazy talk, but I loved this experience that much. I can’t thank my friend Christine enough for taking me. Without her, I probably never would have done something so unusual, but now, I’m going to look for more wacky adventures like this one.
Accomplice: San Diego is produced by the La Jolla Playhouse, to learn more about this amazing theater and the play, check out their website.

Thank you for this exposition, Tameri! This raises the question: what do readers think can be done to bring other forms of story-telling closer to the audiences? What kinds of lessons or applications can writers draw from Accomplice?

Check out Tameri's blog, A Cup of Tea and Sorcery. You can find her on Twitter @TameriEtherton.


  1. Hey Scott,

    Thanks for having me on your blog today! Interesting questions. I think the participation was one of the reasons I connected with this play ~ they call it 'immersive theater' and I like that. When we can become a part of the action, not just bystanders sitting in the audience, it morphs into a whole new experience. I've been thinking about ways writers can make reading more interactive like that. The idea fascinates me.

    1. It's great to have you, Tameri. I just thought this really is a new way of connecting with an audience - which is what writing is all about.