Theatre is often something where the audience is asked to sit kindly and respectively on their behinds. We are requested to sit, laugh, applaud, or even boo and hiss (in melodrama, that is).
However, last Friday, November 15th, I went to a theatrical experience. There is no other word than experience, for calling it a show would do it a disservice. Minneapolis based Sandbox Theatre presented their latest theatrical experience, This Is a World to Live In.
Like the majority of the Sandbox's works, it was entirely devised and created by the ensemble cast. Set as the opening night of an artists masterwork in his gallery, the audience was asked not to sit. We were asked to listen to music, pose for pictures, write words of inspiration, play badminton, make art (see the photo for my original work), and drink Squirt.
Not only was the interdisciplinary nature of the work impressive from the performers, but it was also exceedingly refreshing as a performer myself. Although there were set part's of this work that were always going to happen, it was up to the audience to make the evening their own unique experience.
While I do love the old sit 'n watch, I feel that there is a need for more interactive theatre. For example, Sleep No More, Punchdrunk's interactive production of Macbeth where the audience was asked to go from room to room and follow the story of their own accord, was met with a good response in New York.
I feel like audiences, especially those in Minnesota, are too nervous about seeing productions like these.
Minnesotan's like to think that they are very open minded, but the response to interactive theatrer is often, "Well, that was interesting," which is Minnesotan for "I didn't really like it."
However, as I full well know, you cannot know it you really like something until you experience it yourself. I think that Minnesota artists are ready for the challenge.
For more on Sandbox Theatre, visit http://www.sandboxtheatreonline.com/
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