by Matt Ritchey
Immersive theatre is the hot ticket these days, and will probably only be gathering steam and expanding for the next few years.
There are many different forms of immersive, of course, and much of the enjoyment has to do with what the audience wants out of the experience. Some want to be actively involved and talk to characters to discover clues, like an escape room or murder mystery party, others like to simply let the performance exist around them and take everything in. 2Cent Theatre Group‘s Unreal City does both and it’s up to the audience to decide which they’d like – a perfect scenario.
With a core text made of a mash-up of T.S. Eliot poetry, Unreal City tells the tale of a place in turmoil. You, a visitor, must follow one of four ‘Hollow Men’ who are in service to the Queen – whether she is a tyrant or worth dying for is, of course, up for debate. Thus begins a walking and riding exploration of back alleys, staircases, abandoned buildings, empty lots, and secret shelters following various citizens and learning about them, their plight, and how to escape Unreal City.
The show involves a LOT of walking, so be sure to wear something comfortable, because you should go. Committed performances, a unique look at the Hollywood streets we’ve driven past for years, and a well-cobbled script with wonderful language make Unreal City worth it.
The finale, in particular, has a wonderful feel to it – and immersion in a story, location and feeling is what this kind of theatre is all about.