Below is an interview that ARGNet’s own Michelle Senderhauf conducted with Tom Salamon, co-creator of Accomplice: New York, Accomplice: The Village, and Accomplice: Hollywood. You can find details on participating in Accomplice at AccomplicetheShow.com.
MS: What made you decide to do theatrical performances in the wild rather than in a traditional theatre setting?
TS: A lot of the inspiration came from just loving to people watch in NYC, and all the quirky, crazy people that you see on any given day. We thought that if we could figure out a way to develop characters that would blend into the woodwork of the various neighborhoods, and have a way that our actors could identify our audience but not vice-versa, we could create an effect that felt like the city was filled with extras in our little story. We were also watching a lot of the reality TV of the day, and were interested in the sociological aspects of it, and thought that we could emulate the feeling of being on one of those shows for our audience.
MS: Where did the idea for Accomplice come from?
TS: My sister (co-creator Betsy Salamon-Sufott) and I were on a walking tour throughout lower Manhattan a few years ago. While we were seeing all of these cool, out of the way spots, we found the tour guide boring, and thought that there might be a more exciting way to experience these locations. We thought we could design a program where people would get dropped into the middle of an adventure throughout the city. And while there were various gaming events that incorporated quick bits with actors, I don’t think anyone had really taken the time to structure a story and cast legit improv actors, and give them room to breathe and be funny and engaging, and have a narrative unfold that the audience would be in the middle of.
MS: After signing up for an Accomplice performance, what should the customer expect? Do you have any suggestions on how to get the most from the experience?
TS: Come to have fun and play along – the cast loves it when you participate. You’re not role playing, you’re just being yourself, so have fun with it and get involved. Also, a group of 10 is the best way to attend because you’re with all of your own people, but if you don’t have 10 it’s no problem – you’ll be paired with others – just work together!
Steve Peters is a guest writer for ARGNet and founder of No Mimes Media.
A few weeks back, I was able to head to Hollywood to take part in Accomplice: Hollywood, a new interactive experience produced by Neil Patrick Harris, Tom Salamon and Betsy Salamon-Sufott, that takes place entirely on foot throughout Hollywood Boulevard and its neighboring streets. While the website bills the experience as a “luscious blend” of one part Scavenger Hunt, one part Interactive Theater, and one part Walking Tour, (with all the good parts left intact and all of the bad parts sifted out), I’d add one part Alternate Reality Game into the recipe, for sure (c’mon Neil, get with the lingo). What was it like? I’ll do my best to explain without spoiling the fun. Was it any good? Read on and see.
After reading a blurb about Accomplice: Hollywood on some vanity blog, I said to myself, “Hey! I live near Hollywood!” and promptly bought tickets for the missus and myself, along with cajoling a couple more friends to come along for the fun. We booked 2pm on Sunday, September 27th, and were told that we’d be contacted the day before the event to be given instructions, including where to meet. In the meantime, we were told to visit NikkiDesmond.com to find out more. Go there now and watch the video (which is pretty funny, I must say). I’ll wait…
This article is the second in a series on “secret tourism” spots: cities that provide immersive experiences to residents and tourists alike, as long as you know where and what to look for.
He’s played a genius child doctor and a likable womanizer. He’s hosted the Tony’s and will do the same for the Emmy Awards this year. He’s become an internet sing-along sensation as Dr. Horrible. Now, Neil Patrick Harris can add Puppetmaster to his list of credentials, as he is co-producing an ARG experience in California called Accomplice: Hollywood.
Accomplice: Hollywood is a third in a series of live theatrical experiences that send participants out into the city to find clues and interact with characters in public places. Harris describes it as, “[p]art walking tour, part murder mystery, part scavenger hunt”. After playing Accomplice: New York himself a few years ago, Harris collaborated with the original creators, Tom Salamon and Betsy Sufott, to bring the experience to the West Coast.
This third installment involves a missing starlet named Nikki Desmond. Participants purchase tickets in advance, but have no information other than the date and time of the event and a video, starring Harris himself, with some background information on Desmond. A few days before the event, participants will receive a phone call from a character with the meeting location and other details. When they arrive, they suddenly find themselves immersed in the world of Nikki Desmond. They help solve the mystery behind Desmond’s disappearance while exploring Hollywood.
The customer reviews for all three Accomplice experiences are outstanding, with an average of 4.7 out of 5 stars. This definitely looks to be a fun experience for anyone living in Hollywood or New York. Tickets can be purchased through the Accomplice website.