Red Flags is a live, one-on-one immersive theatre experience in which the audience member goes on a bad “date” with a fictional character, Emma, played by an actress. Over the course of the experience, Emma relates the story of her troubled dating life and coaxes the participant to reflect on their own values and boundaries when it comes to connecting with others.
After signing up, the participant receives an email from Emma asking them to fill out a “dating profile” in order to receive hers in return. On the day of the show, the emails switch to texts. When the participant arrives at the venue, they meet Emma and the “date” begins. The date takes place in a public location, like a bar, coffee shop, or park.
Red Flags is semi-scripted and draws on some elements of LARP. The actor works from essentially half of a script, which includes major story beats and arc. The audience supplies the other half through their responses to Emma’s prompts, speaking as honestly as they choose. Using improvisation, the actor navigates seamlessly from the novel content supplied by the participant back to scripted content.
Thematically, Red Flags deals with Emma’s fear that she is unlovable and her increasingly desperate quest to connect with another person through an endless series of first dates. Emma eventually reveals that she has made a dramatic and questionable choice, inviting the participant to consider whether she may be self-sabotaging.
Red Flags is inspired by our previous work in immersive theatre, including Hamlet-Mobile (winner of the “Game Design” Award at IndieCade 2016) and And the Drum. We were eager to explore the psychological concept of social scripts - cultural patterns so familiar that we follow them without active analysis - and to use these to empower each audience member as a co-creator.
Written and Directed by Lauren Ludwig
Produced by Monica Miklas
Role Originated by Lauren Flans