Wil Petre is the founder and host of the up-and-coming game night event, Social Alchemix. Based in Brooklyn, Petre is excited to bring his game night to life in Greenpoint on Monday, March 14 at Threes Brewing.
“SOCIAL ALCHEMIX (LIVE!) is an intoxicating hybrid of intimate game night, storytelling, and aligned serendipity, conceived, designed, and hosted by cocktail guru and performer Wil Petre. In an informal setting, over drinks and with cell phones turned off, the guests use a beautiful deck of alchemical cards to generate prompts for a meaningful exchange of thoughts. In the first part of the evening, Petre and his team introduce the game in a round played by volunteers from the audience. After a short intermission, everyone is invited to play in small groups, meeting new people in unscripted interactions that go beyond small talk. As the night progresses and conversations flow, the cards may be no longer needed – but those who enjoy them may purchase a deck of their own.”Wil Petre
Games that spark conversation have been well on the rise, especially with the growing need for human connection which the pandemic robbed so many of us of. This game in particular aims to strengthen the connections between strangers and facilitate deeper conversation in a carefully cultivated, comfortable environment. Click here to learn more about the experience.
The uniqueness of this game is also due in part to the astrological component. Petre and his husband, graphic designer Chiaki Murata, collaborated to create a deck of cards that taps into alchemy and astrology in a special way. Unlike most analog conversation games, the card you choose is no coincidence. It feels like the card was meant for you. There’s a certain reverence to the process of selecting your card and discovering the prompt you get to share with your group.
“Initially structured as a performative experience where selected few got to play, the show evolved into a spontaneous social mixer which brings strangers to the table and allows them to talk, listen, and connect in a way rarely available in today’s disconnected world.”Wil Petre
What is the science of a good cocktail? What is the science of a good party? What is the science of a good conversation? These are all questions Petre and Murata are striving to answer.
Petre grew up in the world of hospitality and after graduating from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts he found his way back into hospitality, bartending on the side as he auditioned. A self-proclaimed introverted-extrovert, Petre always enjoyed the socialization of bartending because most of the time his main job was listening to people’s stories and asking questions. His love for one-on-one relationships continued to develop as he also sharpened this skill through his immersive theater endeavors, specifically as a performer in Queen of the Night, an immersive play that ran in 2014. During the show, Petre would ask an audience member a question and follow up at the end of the performance for their answer, then improvised a five-minute one-on-one while making them a cocktail.
To Petre, the role of a bartender is in part a secret-keeper. The intimacy that can occur over a drink is something he’s witnessed time and time again, and he wondered how he could help facilitate those kinds of authentic conversations.
From 2017 to 2018 Petre developed his idea for Social Alchemix through the PGPG (PlayGround PlayGroup) artists’ residency with Fresh Ground Pepper NYC, a theater company that helps emerging artists find their voices.
Social Alchemix is more than just a card game. It’s an experimental experience. It’s a show about listening and tuning into your curiosity. Over the years, Petre has been fine-tuning this experiment through his cocktail experience, Bar for One, and other storytelling pursuits.
“As a storyteller, Wil has told stories with The Moth, winning the first slam he participated in and appearing in many subsequent Moth StorySlams and GrandSlams. He also told stories at other open mic venues such as KGB Bar and Bar 2A. Wil was performed in the 2014 Future of Storytelling Summit in Snug Harbor, Staten Island (with The Windmill Factory), and the 2016 Future of Storytelling Festival at the Africa Center (with Woodshed Collective.)”Wil Petre
A certified host with a prototype in hand, Petre introduced this game in a more formal capacity in the fall of 2019. A growing success, his last in-person show before the pandemic hit hosted ninety people in February of 2020. Though they continued to host virtual events through the past two years, Petre is excited to safely be in-person, with appropriate measures in place.
Click here to RSVP to the event, there is a 40 person capacity and tickets are $18 when purchased ahead of time, and $22 when purchased in person.
If you cannot make it this time, keep an eye out for the next event in Greenpoint, which will be Monday, April 18.