Producer Luke Holmes is fully conscious that audiences may have become accustomed to watching theatre from the best seat in their own home. Consequently, he and director Davey Seagles are promising theatregoers 70 minutes of escapist fun in Hotel Bella Luna which opens at the Marrickville’s Flight Path Theatre on October 22.
With infectious enthusiasm Holmes describes the play as an “interactive, immersive experience” in which audiences are invited to become guests at an intergalactic hotel on the moon. On their arrival at the Hotel Bella Luna, an explosion occurs and “guests” find themselves stranded as most of the staff and supplies have been inexplicably forced out through an airlock.
Expecting a restful break in luxury hotel, the guests are now called upon, with help of a skeleton “staff” played by actors, to work out what has happened and why, and save themselves and the hotel. Working together, and across three rooms, they will solve puzzles and play games that will ultimately uncover a secret and have a lot of fun along the way. It is, as the poster says, a guaranteed blast.
Holmes agrees that this interactive sci-fi comedy experience which he and Davey Seagles devised, references the Covid-19 crisis. Originally Holmes and Seagle wanted to put on The Agency, an interactive theatre piece Seagle devised for a UK theatre, but fate intervened and they figured that comedic escapism was the best antidote to the uncertainty of the times. Who could have imagined, we both agree, that Covid would have resulted in the great toilet paper buy-up?
Holmes is careful to point out that the less extroverted audience members are issued with a lanyard bearing the words “Do not disturb” so that they can relax and enjoy the antics of those who will gleefully participate. He also emphasises that during the development process of Hotel Bella Luna careful consideration was given to Covid-19 restrictions so that the safety of the audience, restricted to 35 at any performance, was ensured.
As the producer, Holmes’s role has been to cover all aspects of the play, to keep it, as it were, in his head. As he speaks about it, he is picturing it, and his full engagement is very communicable. So go along, have fun, forget this world by immersion in a zany space where you can exert control over decisions.