Saturday, September 12, 2015

Secret Cinema Star Wars : Why Should You Watch Star Wars When You Can Live It?

"Why should you watch Star Wars when you can live it?" Good question, and the answer is coming from Secret Cinema in their new production - after last summer triumph with their "Back to the Future" - as usual located in a secret place in London. It started last July and i still don't know how it took me that long to learn about it... Secret Cinema Star Wars looks awesome and the evening include a screening of "The Empire Strikes Back" but it ends in two weeks on Sept 27, so no need to say that you need to rush and get your ticket now if you don't want to miss it!

So, what is it exactly? In two words, the world of Star Wars has been re-created for an immersive experience by Secret Cinema which has staged its biggest production to date, and here is the trailer for the event.

More description from Screen Daily: "A team of more than 400 people have recreated the fantasy world of Star Wars across 18 acres in London – twice the size of the space used to stage its hit production of Back To The Future last summer.

It reportedly took a year for founder Fabien Riggall to secure a license from Disney - owner of the Star Wars franchise - and its staging comes ahead of the much-anticipated release of new instalment The Force Awakens in December.

The ambition is bigger, the interactive elements more immersive and the sets enormous. This year’s Secret Cinema juggernaut – which will have run for 100 shows by the time its run is up on September 27 – is very different to last year’s offering.

While Secret Cinema’s Back To The Future celebrated the innocence of the 1950s, built around the brightly coloured town square of Hill Valley, its production of Star Wars is focussed on the oppression of the ‘Empire’.

This means having to hide your identity with scarves as you enter the world, eyed by suspicious stormtroopers who drag audience members away to detention cells. It means being smuggled between the various zones that make up the evening’s experience, herded by the hundred as you attempt to avoid detection.

It also means a greater sense of action and adventure as leaders of the rebellion sneak you into hidden areas to reveal closely guarded plans while shootouts take place across sets packed with details that even the most rudimentary Star Wars fan will find familiar.

The audience, which could total more than 100,000 by the end of the run, is encouraged to enter the spirit of things well ahead of the evening.

A dedicated ‘Rebel X’ website provides an identity that comes with its own costume and props. Screen was Remus Borabrex, mercenary, with a suggested costume that looked much like the garb of Star Wars hero Han Solo. A pop-up store in London has been set up where ticketholders are encouraged to buy clothes, props and even items to trade on the night.

There is also a ‘Secret Cantina’ bar in London, all designed to get ‘rebels’ in the spirit of things ahead of the main event.

While not totally necessary, it all helps build excitement. While shopping for the suggested red and black scarf at the pop-up, the woman behind the till informed us that the “intergalactic trade wars had meant the latest shipment had tragically not made it through the blockade – but there’s still purple ones”.

After being furnished with the secret location, Secret Cinema works to immerse the audience quickly upon arrival.

A few checkpoints must be crossed, each one taking the audience further from the real world and deeper into the world of Star Wars.

It is then possible to simply mill around and grab some food (“may the forks with you) with drinks served at an impressively decorated bar or find some key characters as scenes play out.

These can be hard to find in the purposefully labyrinthine set – unlike Back To The Future which played in the round – but fortune favours the brave and Screen was suddenly in the crossfire.

The second part of the evening opens up the experience further and feels suitably cinematic, although it wasn’t exactly clear where the audience should go or what they should do. Stormtroopers and villainous generals provided an answer to such confusion that encouraged the audience to move along.

After a suitably grand finale, the film kicks off and many of the audience would be forgiven for forgetting there was a screening at the end of all this.

While the pre-screening part of the evening feels shorter than last year, the action is far from over.

As the film plays out, Secret Cinema continues to deliver action and surprises that had the audience cheering throughout - although some simply chose to hang out in other parts of the location with a drink."

CNN did a great report about it, and here below is the video. Don't miss too THIS other video from Getty Images in which Secret Cinema founder Fabien Riggall tell you more about it.

Secret Cinema Star Wars will cost you £75 for the entrance ticket ( including of course the screening of Empire Strikes Back ) but the show is "considerably longer than most stage productions with a larger cast of characters and more interaction". Those of you who don't want to miss it must jump to Secret Cinema website HERE right now!

Two more posters created for the event!

And to end the article, here is a bonus: last year Secret Cinema event was based on Back to the Future which celebrated the innocence of the 1950s, and was built around the brightly coloured town square of Hill Valley, and here are two videos showing you how it looked, the second one showing the show ending from a different angle than the first video.

Pictures: copyright Paul Cochrane / Screen Daily

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