Monday, May 4, 2009

Immersive Theatre: I'm Hosting a Panel

On Saturday, May 23, from 12:00 - 2:00 pm, I will be moderating a panel about Immersive Theater at the theatre at St. John's University's Manhattan Campus, at 101 Murray Street. I hope many of you reading this will join us for what promises to be a stimulating discussion!

So what do I mean by Immersive Theater?

I'm talking about the kind of theater where the audience engages actively in the theatre experience. This is NOT the same thing as interactive theatre a la Tony & Tina's Wedding -- that experience can be fun but from the audience's perspective, how different is it from any public event or party?

No, Immersive Theater is a happening, where as soon as you arrive you are removed from the set of rules you expect and placed in a new context with a new set of rules that are probably not spelled out but that rather you must infer -- this inference being a significant part of the theatrical event. Now that makes it sound dry and theoretical, which is almost never the case. Immersive Theater, in my experience, is never dry or theoretical. It's active, it's engaging, it's fun, it's surprising. And when it's done well it can make for an artful experience that will stick with you for a very long time.

Joining me at this panel to talk about Immersive Theater will be a group of expert practitioners who each implement the ideas of the form in very different ways:
  • Kirk Wood Bromley, a playwright and director, most recently presented it has no title at the Access Gallery

  • Frank Cwiklik, also a playwright and director (I call him a theatre auteur), runs DM Theatrics

  • Stephen O'Connell, Lucy Simic, and Daniel Pettrow are from the theatre company bluemouth inc., who just performed How Soon Is Now? at Irondale Ensemble Project

This event is free, and is generously presented by St. John's University Dept of Rhetoric Communications & Theater, with Dr. Larry Myers (Associate Professor's RWM Playwrights Lab).

Email me if you would like more information. For directions to 101 Murray Street, click here.

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