This article engages experimentally with the idea of self-reflexivity in research. It stems from the reflections of three geographers who a decade ago undertook an Australian government consultancy, surveying public attitudes to forests. The consultancy project was part of the New South Wales Government's Regional Forest Agreement process which, amid much controversy, aimed to incorporate a deeper participation of stakeholders in decision-making processes. The article critically reflects on the context and production of academic research through a narrated script - a play, with actors and scenes - reconstructed from key moments or flashpoints' in the research process, when issues exposing the partiality of academic knowledge production were paramount. In adopting a 'dramatic' mode of communication, we intend to achieve two things: first, to capture in the article an acknowledgement that the production of academic knowledge incorporates hidden power relationships and alternative nonacademic identities; and second, to allegorically represent the ways in which the process of conducting the research was itself a play within which the authors struggled to maintain integrity and enact agency. Although we hint at important ethical issues in research, it is left to readers to draw their own conclusions about how institutional positionalities and personal identities affected the academic knowledge production process.