Reuters - Video

Edition: US | UK | IN | CN | JP

video Entertainment

In immersive theater audiences join the show

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 03:09

Interactive theater shows are turning audience members into performers. Alicia Powell reports.

▲ Hide Transcript

View Transcript

Aerialists descend on a giant chandelier and a showgirl leads an audiences back in time to a 1920s Parisian nightclub. Immersive theater lures the audience into the show and adventurous productions are shattering the boundaries further by enticing the guests to be part of the performance. One of the newest shows, "Speakeasy Dollhouse: Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolic," is about the 1920s death of Ziegfeld Follies showgirl and actress Olive Thomas. Syrie Moskowitz plays Olive Thomas. SOUNDBITE: Syrie Moskowitz, actress, saying (English): "It's an immersive experience as oppose I would say a play, in any sort of traditional sense. There's two separate levels, one level would be New York City 1919. And then the next level is Paris 1920s. And so as an audience member you can kind of wander through all this different worlds and areas." Everyone is encouraged to roam, be inquisitive and to talk to strangers said actor Joey Calveri. SOUNDBITE: Joey Calveri, actor, saying: "The thing about this type of show is that it's not necessarily a play. What it is is a party that happens to have a storyline wrapped around it. So it's kind of a chose your own adventure of plays, a little bit, because you can follow whatever character you want." A few blocks away, producer Randy Weiner has transformed the former 1940s Diamond Horseshoe nightclub in the basement of the Paramount Hotel for his interactive show, "Queen of the Night" based on Mozart's opera "The Magic Flute." Costumed performers escort guests into the club. Some are whisked away for private meetings or given markers, signifying a role in the show that includes theater, circus, dance. Katherine Crockett has played the Queen since the show began. SOUNDBITE: Katherine Crockett, the queen, saying (English): "Some people are there and they're ready to, you know, 'take me on this, take me' - there are really, really wanting that and some people aren't sure yet. And I think as the performer in this show my goal is to give somebody, give everybody something." SOUNDBITE: Kathleen Shuler, audience member, saying (English): "You get whipped, and kissed." SOUNDBITE: Kate Archibald, audience member, saying (English): "Touched, messed with. It's the best part, absolutely." SOUNDBITE: Amy Moyes, audience member, saying (English): "We wanted something outside the box and so I definitely think we got what we wanted." Weiner is also the producer of the British theater company Punchdrunk's "Sleep No More." The show, which has been running in New York since 2011, raised the bar for immersive theater with its blend of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" and film noir. Sensory experience is also the aim of the non-verbal show "Fuerza Bruta," which combines music, water, aerial stunts. Producers think there is an appetite for experiences that challenge audiences physically and emotionally and plan to take the concept further. SOUNDBITE: Randy Weiner, creator producer, saying (English): "I think people love connecting with other people and they love connecting directly with experiences. And you can look at a stage, and it's such a beautiful set and it looks like such a beautiful scene and you wish you were there. And with an immersive theatre project who can actually step into that world, step into that scene. And that's really exciting. And then the idea that a performer will actually directly address you and even touch you, reach out and take your hand and listen to you and interact with you. That's very powerful for people."

Press CTRL+C (Windows), CMD+C (Mac), or long-press the URL below on your mobile device to copy the code

In immersive theater audiences join the show

Friday, June 26, 2015 - 03:09