Thursday, May 15, 2014

Things I Love Thursday 5/15/14: Then She Fell

Then She Fell

"An immersive theater experience combining a hospital ward, the writings of Lewis Carroll, and just 15 audience members per show.
Then She Fell is a fully immersive, multi-sensory experience in which only 15 audience members per performance explore a dreamscape where every alcove, corner, and corridor has been transformed into lushly designed world. Inspired by the life and writings of Lewis Carroll, it offers an Alice-like experience for audience members as they explore the rooms, often by themselves, in order to discover hidden scenes; encounter performers one-on-one; unearth clues that illuminate a shrouded history; use skeleton keys to gain access to guarded secrets; and imbibe elixirs custom designed by one of NYC’s foremost mixologists."

 Immersive theater has become one of my new favorite things in recent years. There are few opportunities in this world as an adult to totally give yourself over to your imagination and play along within a fantasy alongside actors in sets constructed to make you believe you are in another world. I frequently refer to immersive theater as 'Chucky Cheese for goths'. As I have started to get more involved in writing my own stories for my eventual comic Pearly Whites, these experiences have been paramount in jumpstarting my creativity. To be able to give yourself over to such fantastical situations has given me so much inspiration. 

HELL YEAH special Alice in Wonderland themed outfit for the occasion.
  I was introduced to the concept of immersive theater with the noir-themed take on MacBeth that is Sleep No More, which I talk about at length in one of my most popular blog posts ever (guest starring Dita Von Teese!). Though there are to be inevitable comparisons between Then She Fell and Sleep No More, they both have their own strengths and weaknesses. Like the above description states, Then She Fell has only 15 audience members per show. This is definitely something which puts it over Sleep No More, which in it's popularity has caused a veritable cattle call of people clogging stairways, looking at their smuggled phones in disinterest and aggressively crowding around actors in order to attain the coveted 1:1. With a smaller audience at TSF in a much more intimate venue, the itch for the 1:1 experience a seasoned Sleep No More fan such as myself desires is scratched for the full 2 hour runtime of the show. The already small audience gets broken down into smaller and smaller fractions as you are led around the Victorian hospital setting by ushers dressed as nurses. The tracks are specific, so you are not free to roam like in SNM, but this also allows you to experience everything the show has to offer and you never feel as though you've missed something. As a SNM veteran, I was used to being right behind actors, keeping pace so as not to miss anything. Doing this with the ushers of TSF, as I found myself being at the front of a group of three being led down dark corridors to another room, by the time we would reach our destination I would realize that the people behind me were snatched up by other actors and taken to other rooms for their own experiences and I was alone with mine. TSF does amazing things with the spaces provided. Some of the rooms you are placed in are no bigger than a walk-in closet but are transformed into these vignettes between you and an actor where you're asked to take part in the story much like Alice herself. In one room you are prompted to take down notes as a very handsome yet sad Lewis Carroll dictates a love letter to you. In another you are prompted to help paint roses red, surrounded by dried bouquets. One of my favorite scenes was in one of the bigger rooms that contained the Mad Tea Party. The dancing is amazing and you even get to sit alongside the Hatter and company- just be ready to "CHANGE PLACES", of course. One of the only things I think fell flat was the usage of skeleton keys. At the beginning of the night you are issued a ring of keys that you are free to use around the rooms for various lockboxes, drawers and closets. In my experience it was a novel idea at first but I soon kept running across the same Xeroxed paperwork from mental institutions, old photos and poetry over and over again. I think it's almost unnecessary. But that's me. Overall I loved the experience of Then She Fell and highly suggest you check it out if you're ever in the NYC area. I actually lucked out incredibly with this show as the venue is a mere 15 minute walk from my house.


The letter you get at the end of the night. I thought it was nice. ^_^
So when Fenny and I attended back in November, who was in the super-small audience with us but Neil Patrick Harris and his husband David Burtka!! We didn't run into either of them during the actual show, but we were in the room with them at the beginning and end of the show. They were just as well-dressed and fit as you would expect. It was pretty funny because the show was running late because of them and as we're sitting in the waiting room with the other members of the audience they come in like 15 minutes late and I'm all 'geez who are these assholes' under my breath and they turn around and I'm all HOLY SHIT (to myself). Meanwhile, Fenny is completely clueless and as they sit down two seats from me I nudge her and say in her ear 'do you promise not to freak out?' to which she's all 'huh?' and I say 'that's fucking NPH and his husband right there'. Fenny looked over and gasped and I pinched her leg and rasped in her ear 'be cool! be cool!!!!' She was. At the end of the show they got their coats and were whisked away from the venue in a private car. So no one else freaked out either from what I know. Added an extra touch of weirdness to an already surreal night. Haha.

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