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Have you ever thought about changing the end of the story by becoming a character yourself? Shear Madness, which will be introduced in this article, is a comic detective play in which the audience can participate and change the ending in each play. This play was first performed in the USA in 1980 and holds the Guinness Book of Records for the longest running play in the U.S.A. In Korea, Shear Madness was first performed in 2006, and it has been performed as an open run (performance without closing date set) at the Daehak-ro Content Box after the organization of the play on November 12, 2015. What is the secret that can still be loved for 6 years?
While in a beauty shop called ‘Sheer Madness’, located in Dong-gu, Ulsan, spending time by receiving guests, as usual, Bayer Hahn, an 80-year-old famous pianist living upstairs at the beauty shop, is found murdered with scissors. Four people who were at the ‘Shear Madness’, were spotted as a suspect. Hairdressers Jo Ho-jin and Jang Mi-sook, who are working with the stage names of George and Suzy, Oh Jun-Su, who introduced himself as an antique buyer, and Han Bo-Hyeon, who is a regular customer of the beauty shop. Two detectives who have already posed as customers before Bayer was murdered begin to interrogate the four people to solve the case. Detectives take turns questioning whether they have an alibi, but they can't figure out some details of the crime. Detectives who agonize about who is the criminal ask for help from the audience who know a lot about the murder case, and finally, they can catch the criminal.
This play has a difference from other plays. It is that the audiences can directly participate in the play and the end of the play can be changed according to the testimony of the audience. Detectives ask the audience three different types of questions and after that, they determine the criminal. The first is to ask if there are any errors in the suspect’s testimony, the second is that audience asks the suspect directly, and the last is to vote for the criminal they think by raising a hand. Before seeing this play, I was worried about this second type of question, because the audience doesn’t remember the content enough or actively ask questions and thereby ruin the excitement of the play. However, the actors supported the audience quickly so that the flow of the play wasn’t interrupted. For example, even if the audience uses only words for clues such as 'bag’ or 'gloves', the actors immediately recognize what the audience is trying to say and show them what's inside the bag or investigate the suspect in relation to the gloves. When the question time is over, detectives figure out the criminal who was voted by the audience. After figuring out the criminal and the audience can find out that the picture of the actor in the role of the criminal has changed if you go out to the theater.
Like this, Sheer Madness has a different ending in every play according to the audiences’ choice. This is not only stimulating and immersive but also gives the audience the satisfaction that they have created the story themselves. Also, various advantages such as using appropriate props and great acting skills are the secret the play has been consistently popular even after 6 years from the open run. I recommend the play Sheer Madness that can change the end of the play by direct participation of the people who are tired of one-sided movies or plays.