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"Play Dead"
Bar Harbor
Some thoughts on seeing "Play Dead". Very minor spoilers.

One of the ushers was *very* enthusiastic. She'd ask for your seat number, and no matter what you answered, she'd go "Ooooooohhhh..." and smile knowingly, as if that seat were in for a particularly special experience.

Teller reverses his normal "seen but not heard" stance for this show. He is not seen, but his recorded voice is heard giving some instructions at the beginning of the show.

Todd Robbins (star and co-author) is, unsurprisingly for a friend of Penn & Teller, fiercely anti-spiritualist. He discusses a number of historical 'evil' people during the show, and seemed to have considerably more vitriol against the fake mediums than he did against the mass murderers.

The spookiness is calibrated to cause significant fear, but not actual trauma, to a typical audience member. kestrell, jaded horror buff, wasn't scared at all (though did quite enjoy the show). I was scared at times, but the game designer part of my brain never turned off, so it was busy analyzing how the effects were accomplished even as I cringed and clung to my sweetie. But there was plenty of screaming from the audience.

This careful calibration extended, interestingly, to the medium-istic parts of the show, where Todd demonstrates some of what they do. As near as I can tell, he has a rule when researching his 'marks', that he won't 'make contact with the dead' of anyone who died less than a decade ago. He's deliberately targeting folks who have had plenty of time to come to terms with it.


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he won't 'make contact with the dead' of anyone who died less than a decade ago

It may have just worked out that way the night you were there. When I saw it in NYC, the segment with the ashes (don't want to be too spoilery) named someone who had died less than 2 years ago.

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