Happy Hour (2012/2016)

Inspired by escape room games, machina eX presents a remote-controlled performance game with live video components.

Happy Hour in Stall 6. Barista Fascino—probably the shadiest employee at Gessnerallee in Zurich—offers twelve select guests specialty drinks, along with the chance to experience his latest attraction four times a night:

In the attic of a former stable, Fascino has built a macabre playground where he’s holding two people captive. Remote-controlled by the guests, the captives try to break out of the game. “Escape the room!” Preferably alive, preferably fast. To make this happen, doors need to be opened, bridges built, obstacles overcome, hidden devices found. Fascino is known for pushing his luck, and nothing entertains him more than a bona fide spectacle. He keeps his eye on the game—and on you. How far will you go?

Premiere / Venues

Premiere in September 2012 at the Gessnerallee Zürich

Restaged in May 2016 at the Spooky Action Theater, Washington D.C.
(funded by the Goethe Institute Washington)

Credit: Nele Lenz / machina eX

Since a hit-or-miss approach works well in solving the puzzles, and since each audience member is free to be as active or passive as he or she likes, the experience is more amusing than stressful — all the more so since the actors playing the avatars deadpan to droll effect as the kooky commands rain down. Use fish tank with carpet! Use poisonous mushrooms with spider! Use cup of chicken blood! Use ax with battle earrings! “Good idea!” the avatar tends to respond in a sober yet admiring tone.

Celia Wren, The Washington Post

9 people look into the camera - team photo of machina eX
Credit: machina eX

Concept: machina eX ///By and with:Laura Alisa Schäffer, Jan Philip Steimel, Laura Naumann, Anan Fries, Robin Krause, Nele Katharina Lenz, Lasse Marburg, Mathias Prinz, Yves Regenass ///Equipment:Sabina Winkler /// Assistance: Lily-Pauline Koper, Mortimer Chen

Production:machina eX und Gessnerallee Zürich. Funded by Stadt Zürich Kultur