And so began Project X: a time-travel crime adventure courtesy of the museum and tradesecrets interactive theatre company.
Donning my hat for post-mortem reflection and being, as you know, keenly interested in immersive storytelling experiences and devices, I found it fascinating to think about the characters we'd come across, the pathways by which we travelled to get to them, their individual stories, and how all of these things intertwined.
It's incredibly difficult to write truly immersive experiences. As soon as you introduce the reader's actual physicality, and use that physicality to move your story along, then you enter a minefield of options. Will they turn left or right? Well it's possible you can engineer that decision for them. But will they use their left hand or right to open the door? Not so easy to engineer. And what are the consequences either way? Very quickly the simple map becomes a complex crazy cobweb, and balancing the clever complexities of an immersive narrative with the necessarily eloquent coherence is most definitely an art.
With Project X, tradesecrets did a great job of finding that balance. If you get the chance to go (it's running every weekend through to early November) then I'd recommend it to see just how immersed you feel. Did you find yourself involved? Were you in the moment? Did anything pull you out? What questions did you ask...?
I'd be very interested in your answers, and I'm sure the team at tradesecrets would be too; so please do get in touch if you'd like to join in the discussion :-)