A look at the latest Secret Cinema production: Stanley Kubrick’s Dr Strangelove
Secret Cinema can finally lift the curtain on their latest immersive production. Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 cinematic masterpiece and political comedy Dr Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb starring Peter Sellers, was resurrected, and with it a call to engage in a new social movement.
Secret Cinema’s Tell No One production, the first since their hugely successful Secret Cinema presents Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back in 2015, was a homage and a return to its underground roots where the film is not revealed to the audience until the night.
“We are pacified…by full stomachs, TV and comfortable homes, but we have become ‘walking dead.’ We’ve given up as individuals. We deny the threat and subconsciously experience our anxieties elsewhere.” Stanley Kubrick
Drawing inspiration from Kubrick himself, and current world affairs, the production confronted modern social anxieties and blurred the lines between real and fictional worlds. The journey beginning for the audience when they were assigned their unique persona at the DOCS website (Department of Cultural Surveillance). Whether they were Military Division or Diplomat, all ticket holders were encouraged to get involved in the new world, with even a fictional newspaper encouraging participants to become citizen journalists.
Reporting to duty on the night at the fictional Burpelson Air Base, created at an abandoned factory warehouse complex in South London, the film was brought to life with over 35 actors posing as DOCS. personnel, military and non-military, a live jazz band, and a life-size replica of the iconic War Room, created by set design legend Ken Adam, who sadly passed away in the course of the last month. This was built to a grand scale, and incorporated six stadium-sized screens from where the audience could watch world events unfold.
Active engagement was encouraged, and in an attempt to bridge the gap between the citizen and political class, audience members were invited to stand up to world leaders within the show. Ticket holders had the opportunity to deliberate on the threat of nuclear warfare, an issue that whilst laying buried, is still a real threat today.
The editorial unit
Photos: Hanson Leatherby, Will Cooper, Al Overdrive, Camilla Greenwell