Escape from Alcatraz

Should you be in the position that you are convicted to spending 3 or 4 hours in the Dutch Alcatraz theatre program, there are a few things you should know beforehand. The photographs on the site have absolutely nothing to do with the show itself, and should not be used to judge setting or quality. The audience is not only encouraged, but in fact required to play an active part in the “show”. The whole show is based on humiliation of people in front of their friends/collegues. The show is definetely not wheelchair friendly, and toilets are in fact unreachable by wheelchair.

This is what will happen:

  • From the moment you enter the building to the moment you leave, you and your party will be shouted at, insulted, and treated as infants. There will even be some public physical humiliation too for a few chosen ones.
  • Depending on the arrangement, you can be called by name to step forward, and are then subject to cheap jokes based on information given to the cast prior to your arrival.
  • There is no real break. The show lasts 3 to 4 hours, and during that time there are a few brief moments you can drink or eat in a tiny space cramped with 20 people in a cell, sitting on wooden benches.
  • Entertainment will be limited to a few sing-and-dance moments, of which at least 2 will contain singing “Je ne regrette rien”.
  • Performances will range from moderate quality to cheap to plain vulgar, generally the stuff you’d expect at cheap backalley theatres.

These are pointers to survive:

  • Do not enter the building in the first place, unless you are socially forced or tricked.
  • Eat before you enter. Although food is advertized to be served, it is of avarage microwave-meal quality, and there is a big chance you are not allowed to eat all of it.
  • Drink before you enter. Getting a drink means you have to communicate with one of the cast. This can result in more humiliating shouting, no matter how polite you ask.
  • Mingle and dissapear in the crowd. Try not to be at the edges of a group. The concrete pillars will block a lot of the view of the cast, make use of them to stay out of sight, but be casual about it.

Picking a good moment and route to leave:

  1. After entering the building, it will be some time before you can leave without alarming anyone. Wait for the right moment.
  2. There will be a “trail” where the “judge” will read cheap and uncomfortably personal jokes about you and your party from a piece of paper. Moving our coughing will place you in the center of attention. Hold still.
  3. You are sent to walk down an isle while hearing a long, slow and boring story about a made-up Alcatraz inmate and his wife. The cast is around you in uniform, still no chance to leave without a trace.
  4. The lights will go out while everbody is standing close to eachother, and a lot of noise will be made with the prison bars around you. Claustrofobic people will definetely not like this. The door behind you is black, closed and barely visible, still no good time to leave.
  5. Lights will go on and you are ordered to enter the cells, about 10 to 20 people per cell. The cells have no doors that can be closed. There will be some shouting, ordering you to stand up if you’re sitting, and sit down when you’re standing. The guards have a strange fascination of ordering people to put their hands in the air.
  6. At some point, you will be given soup and bread. Don’t bother with it, it will be taken from you as soon as everybody starts to eat.
  7. Alcatraz escape planAs soon as you see a green bus entering the building, that’s your queue. It signals a “break” in the program where preople can get drinks.
  8. Walk to the bar where wine and soda is served (marked drinks/food in the map).
  9. When at the bar, kindly ask where the toilets are. You will be directed (ordered) through a black door, and you’ll find yourself in the room where the trail was held, and the toilets and wardrobe are. The white doors can be opened from the inside, try the small door next to the wardrobe first. (Follow the red line in the map).
  10. Walk to your car and hope noone misses you before you can start it. After that, enjoy your freedom.

I wrote this plan because I regret leaving earlier. I kept thinking this nonsense could not last 3 hours, but it did. There are people who like this kind of entertainment very much, but I don’t. The problem is that if your party has a good time, the social pressure of joining the fun can be tremendous, and can lead you into doing stuff you’ll regret later.

I would strongly advise against going to this show.


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