Don't get the performers drunk. Sure you want to be nice but buy them a few rounds after the performance. Just take my word for it.
We built five jail cells in the gallery. The bars were made out of wood, but for the most part, they looked the part. Three blocks away we had five prisoners - all artists in their own right - but tonight they were the prisoners for Maximum Security, a one night interactive performance in our 2,000 square foot gallery. Three blocks away we put the ankle cuffs on them and slowly they marched down the street in single-file formation. Two prison guards prodded them along. It was a slow dance. The steel chains tangled and performers stopped and started and tried to move in unison.
Once inside the gallery, the guards unshackled the prisoners and placed them in their respective cells. For 3 hours they were going to stay put (with the exception of guard accompanied bathroom breaks). What was the point? What were they supposed to do? They were directed to drain the audience. Beg, demand, ask questions, be needy, look for salvation. Exaggerate the thirst that an art viewer would have - the reasons why anyone needs or wants or finds comfort in art. Maximum Security was about flipping the roles, and giving the audience the shakedown.
It was a night of chaos. I'm not sure if it worked at all. People got their hands on Sharpies. People got their hands on whiskey. There were jail breaks and drag queens stopping traffic in the street. Civilians got into the jail cells. One prisoner wanted viewers to take off their pants and they did.
These are all experiments. These are all experiences. The only real failure is a night that no one remembers. And for whatever it was, whatever critique you want to place on it, it was a Friday night like you've never seen and not too easily forgotten.