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Case Studies Gyda Arber/ Red Cloud Rising
From the award-winning creator of the hit iPod noir 'Suspicious Package' comes an entirely new adventure! Alternate Reality Gaming meets theater in Gyda Arber’s Red Cloud Rising, a tale of Wall Street power that unfolds via text message, placing the audience directly in the show.
For 250 years Bydder Financial has been one of the most powerful forces in the global economy. It has underwritten the expansion of American multinational corporations, shaping the destiny of smaller countries to suit the priorities of the United States and of Bydder itself. From its august headquarters on Broad Street, barely a block from the New York Stock Exchange, Bydder stands astride international commerce like a colossus.
It begins with an e-mail from Charlotte Gaffney, for a “recruitment session,” at Bydder Financial. You are advised to dress comfortably for your "job interview," in the Financial District where you will meet the other potential inductees. You walk into the Wall Street offices of Bydder, which are beautifully appointed but otherwise nondescript. Charlotte, meets you at the front desk and eventually takes you and your fellow recruits into a conference room, where she explains that you are now a part of the Bydder family. Next she takes your cell number, gives you a name badge, then sends you and your fellow associates outside on a scavenger hunt for information. Clues about your next moves will arrive via text message and you are told that you are to expect more phone calls and text messages to guide you along your way.
Soon, your phone rings. It’s a recorded message from Bydder with some instructions. When you’ve followed them and solved the puzzle they present, you send back a text message. Minutes later, your phone rings again. This time, the number and the voice are different. Bydder Financial, the new voice warns, is not what it seems.
This is no mere scavenger hunt and before long, you encounter a conspiracy theorist, who seeks to recruit you to another organization, Red Cloud, that wants to reveal the to you the "truth" about bottom-line oriented corporations, the sort who manage to sell a country its own natural resources, or which makes its products with ever more cut-rate ingredients.
This is all part of Red Cloud Rising, a presentation of the Brick Theater’s Game Play Festival. Under the watchful eye of creator Gyda Arber, you will spend the day receiving cryptic text messages and suspicious phone calls that provide you with just enough information to get you to the next location. Arber and her creative team used the cloud communication app, Twilio, to construct the Alternate Reality Gaming layer in the real world. Red Cloud Rising transforms the way in which you view its slice of the city. This style of site-specific engagement, which encourages Internet-based world-building outside of the show (which is already out of the theater), speaks to a very bright future of theater.