The Order of the Golden Scribe Initiation Tea

Immersive theater fans and afternoon tea fans alike, rejoice: an immersive theater experience that includes puzzles, games, intrigue, and a full afternoon tea menu is currently running at Caveat on the Lower East Side. You’ll get the chance to be initiated into a secret order: The Order of the Golden Scribe, which works to clandestinely control all the narratives of humanity. But all is not what it seems. There’s something going on behind the scenes, and it’s up to you and your tablemates to get to the bottom of it. 

Order members (or scribes) Clio, Anders, Dennis, and Genevieve are running the initiation tea for all of the new Order members. They tell us that each of the four courses – tea, sandwiches, scones, and dessert – will have to be unlocked by each table solving a series of puzzles. Not to fear, they tell us – these puzzles should be like child’s play after the rigorous training we’ve gone through to get to this initiation tea. After introductions, the first challenge is handed out: a puzzle box with a combination lock. And, begin. 

If you read your invitation (ahem, ticket) properly, you will have noticed the bolded letters that spell “DO NOT TRUST THE ORDER.” But even without this clue, the Order’s carefully constructed narrative begins unraveling fairly quickly. Soon, you realize, you must work not only with your tablemates, but with all the other initiates to get some answers and maybe leave a mark of your own. 

I will not reveal any of the Order’s secrets, as discovering those secrets for oneself is the name of the game in this initiation tea. But suffice it to say that you are as much a player in this tea party  as the sibling scribes who flit about the room with trays of tea sandwiches and scones for the “initiates.” The more you chat up the scribes running the ceremony, the more breadcrumbs you can collect and compare to piece together the puzzle. The actors playing the scribes are fantastically deep in character, and a conversation with them might yield unexpected results. Their internal struggles – with one another, with the Order – will come to light if you ask the right questions. 

Everything comes to a head during the fourth and final test, the dessert course. By this time, all of your schmoozing with the scribes and your behind-the-scenes research will have come to fruition. While this last part was very fun, I do think the ending was slightly anticlimactic; after achieving the goal of the game, it ends rather abruptly. But the overall experience more than makes up for this. The actors are dedicated and talented, the direction of the event is excellent, and the initiation tests are just challenging enough to make you pat yourself on the back when you put it all together. There’s intrigue, drama, and lots of fun.  Not only that, you’ll get a thoroughly enjoyable afternoon tea meal prepared by a talented kitchen and made all the sweeter because you unlocked it with your own problem solving skills. 

Created by Shuai Chen and Arlo Howard

Directed by Arlo Howard

Running time: approx 2 hours

Props and graphic design by Nell Quinn-Gibney, Ali Mark

Cast includes: Max Henry, Sarah Sutliff, Ella Raymont, Brian Alford, Lauren Kneteman