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Rising Stars: Meet Jeff and Andy Crocker

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jeff and Andy Crocker.

Hi Jeff and Andy, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
While we had both been creating shows or working on projects individually and asking the other for help, it wasn’t until 2017 when we made a distinct decision to work together as creative partners. That being said, it belies the fact that we had been producing events together– costume parties, friend’s celebrations, our wedding, for example– for many years prior. We also collaborate everyday on our most rewarding and complex endeavor to date – raising our daughter, Shirley.

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Given the decidedly un-smooth world and time, we live in…It’s been fairly smooth! Of course life is full of challenges, but in terms of our creative partnership, we are very concious that the path we’ve forged together has been one of the less rocky ones. We are lucky that we get along and work well together. But yeah, there are always challenges when your life partner and creative partner are the same person… like… spending all your time in the same house! It is fantastic to be able to have “work” conversations at times when inspiration strikes without having to wait to get together; but the big drawback is that it’s hard to have defined “working hours.”

As you know, we’re big fans of you and your work. For our readers who might not be as familiar what can you tell them about what you do?
We are an experience design team with a focus on live immersive and interactive performance. While that may seem like a mouthful, words like “theatre company” “game designers” or “hare-brained scheme-concoctors” don’t quite seem to cover what we’re up to.

We are most well-known for “Escape From Godot,” a reimagining of a classic existential play as a playful escape room. But since we first opened Godot, we’ve created shows for the Skirball Cultural Center, The Warehouse Theatre in Greenville, SC, and some confidential projects we can’t reveal just yet- but stay tuned! We’re most proud of our approach to interactive storytelling by getting strangers to become friends. Some of the most magical moments come from letting your guard down, engaging with a story in the moment, and bonding with the people next to you.

Our particular approach to this is fairly simple: leveraging social situations and setups, then offering a mischievous twist on those expectations. In “Escape From Godot” you and your fellow audience members must do more than just sit and watch a show about existential dread. We ask them to play with a play. In “Objectivity” a webinar breaks away from the lecturing expert and turns into a completely different show. Participants end up helping our characters and each other navigate some tricky emotions- in a fun and unexpected way.

Our style is right in our company title- Mister & Mischief. We take the work seriously but not ourselves. We set out to bring joy and play into the immersive arts landscape and to always have a few delightful surprises for our guests when they least expect it.

Are there any apps, books, podcasts, blogs or other resources you think our readers should check out?
Some books that we turn to in our work (and love foisting on our friends and collegues) include The Well Played Game by Bernie De Koven and Designing Games by Tynan Sylvester – so fantastic for accsessing the play portion of our brains. Critical Response Theory by Liz Lerman unlocked iteration for us in a major way, and our book lists are never complete without Theater of the Unimpressed by Jordan Tannahill, which is a fantastic and personal collection of essays on contemporary experimental theatre.

Moving away from books, the immersive theater nexus is No Proscenium (website and podcast). Publisher Noah Nelson has dedicated all his energy to Everything Immersive: from theater, haunts, activations, VR, XR, and almost any iteration of audience-interactive entertainment. NoPro and all their writers cover the experiential ecosystem across the globe and is an essential tool for us and many of our colleagues.

Another MVP of our inspiration and joy is the Museum of Home Video. LA-native Bret Berg has been putting on incredible video shows in Los Angeles forever, but his regular Tuesday night show on Twitch is a treasure trove of wonderful weirdness that always has something amazing that often makes us laugh until we cry.

In our particular business of immersive theatre, the best way to learn is to experience and explore. There is exciting work happening all over the country (and the internet!) But Los Angeles in particualr is so rich with entertainment, and we do consume a lot of it: theater, music, events, theme parks, museums, escape rooms– there is so much well-produced work of all kinds– both experimental and traditional– that we get to partake in this city. We feel very fortunate and are excited for the next chapter as 2020 starts to feel just a bit further away, and we look ahead to what’s to come – and especially grateful that we get to do that together.

Contact Info:

Image Credits:

Vanessa Maldonaldo Valeri Estrada Jeff Crocker

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