luke-dyson-romeo-juliet-1Secret Cinema Presents William Shakespeare’s Romeo + Juliet (2018), Photography by Luke Dyson

SUITCASE Advertorial | Secret Cinema

There is both an art and a science to telling a secret. Divulged in the wrong company or delivered in an untimely manner, its intimacy and mystique fades. Exposed too freely, a secret’s inherent power dissolves in an irreversible instant.

Secret Cinema has latched on to this secret-harbouring psyche for over a decade and manipulated it to magnificent effect. Masters of immersive performance, the illustrious storytellers reveal details of their screenings in a drip-feed cryptique of hints and clues. For those who gain entry to their otherworlds, no phones are allowed inside and photography is strictly prohibited. An “all in good time” approach is applied to the myriad of tableaus they conjure and – full disclosure – the results are spellbinding.

The next film on their reel? Casino Royale. Spanning film locations as far-reaching as Madagascar, The Bahamas and Venice, speculating on where Secret Cinema will have us escape to this time round is a roll of the dice. Reported to be the largest and most intricate Secret Cinema project to date, it’s certain to be debonair, daring and downright seductive. Will you be recruited for operation Wildcard as part of MI6 or is Vesper Lynd more your vibe?

As we wait for the roulette wheel to stop spinning and classified details of the Bond franchise to trickle into our mailboxes, we’re (discreetly) sharing some of the finer points of Secret Cinema’s previous creations. From dystopian Los Angeles to the fictive “Verona Beach” of Romeo and Juliet’s California (by way of the London Overground), be transported to another world without leaving your city.

THE FILM: Blade Runner: The Final Cut THE LOCALE: A dystopian Chinatown in LA THE LOWDOWN: Catapulted to a futuristic Los Angeles on the brink of destruction, 70,000 adventurers trekked to a forgotten part of East London for Secret Cinema’s screening of the 1982 cult classic, Blade Runner: The Final Cut. A crowd of trench-coat-donning movie buffs explored the film’s infernal cityscape – a grungy industrial metropolis of infinite shadows and endless night, reached by way of awe-inspiring indoor rain scene.

As the plot develops, the world’s depletion becomes critical, forcing audience members to evacuate a dying planet before being diverted back to earth. Encompassing bustling Chinatown markets, monumental skyscrapers and the notorious whisky-fuelled Snake Pit Bar, Ridley Scott’s 2019 dystopian world came uncomfortably close to the mark.

THE FILM: Moulin Rouge! THE LOCALE: 1890s belle-epoch Paris THE LOWDOWN: For Moulin Rouge!, filmgoers travelled back in time to a late 19th-century Paris. The hedonic and artist-dominated cobbled streets of Montmartre opened to a world of decadence, debauchery and earthly delights. Time travelling to join the Society of Love, over the evening audience members roamed Pigalle’s backstreets, posing for a portrait or pausing for a tipple at a variety of bars and music venues en route to the Moulin Rouge!

Amid the wild, kaleidoscopic visual stylings of Baz Luhrmann’s jukebox musical, the night centred itself at the cabaret theatre. Before the screening, some joined the bohemian revolution and celebrated with Toulouse over a glass of absinthe; others rehearsed backstage before auditioning for Harold Zidler in the quest for fame. When the lights dimmed, actors took to the stage for audaciously choreographed sequences – including the raunchy El Tango de Roxanne – in this energised tale of passion.

THE FILM: Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet THE LOCALE: “Verona Beach”, California THE LOWDOWN: In August 2018, Secret Cinema took on Shakespeare’s greatest love story. With a colourful clash of Elizabethan lingo and 90s Californian gang culture, the activation transformed Gunnersbury Park into “Verona Beach”. Set in 1996, a large-scale summer festival (or rather, a Capulet ball) brought over 60,000 Montagues and Capulets to attend Father Laurence’s Truce of Two Houses.

Over the course of the evening both houses engaged in the brawl to end all brawls. Attendees stopped by the Capulet Mansion for Lady Capulet’s latest stage show while Hawaiian-shirt-clad ravers partied with the Rude Mechanicals on the other side of town. Father Laurence’s impassioned speeches from the Sycamore Grove stage were followed by the showdown between both houses and then the film screening. The night’s inevitable end saw star-crossed lovers, beguiling drag queens and Shakespeare-types depart into London’s quietening streets; Secret Cinema’s escapist, fictive world rendered true in the outside world.

About Secret Cinema

Secret Cinema specialises in immersive-cinema experiences. From cult classics to new releases, films are brought to life around you. Now a new world awaits… tickets are now available for Secret Cinema Presents Casino Royale. Act quickly, they are selling fast.

www.secretcinema.org

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