Review Rundown: Of Dionysus & Ambient Audio Alchemy

Review Rundown: Of Dionysus & Ambient Audio Alchemy

Sleepwalk Immersive’s Bacchanalia at Crypt, picture credit score Ivy Corbin


After weeks and weeks of huge Rundowns we come to a relaxed oasis, however one which packs an impression as all three of this week’s items have impressed the crew.

Let’s get into this tryptch from London, LA, and NYC.

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Sleepwalk Immersive’s Bacchanalia at Crypt, picture credit score Ivy Corbin

Bacchanalia — Sleepwalk Immersive
From £30; London, UK; via November twenty fifth

Immersive theatre in London so usually occurs within the shadow of a single firm, one whose affect is so prevalent that I hardly want to call them right here. For youthful corporations, like

Sleepwalk Immersive (fashioned in late 2022), standing on the shoulder of giants is a wise technique. Taking promenade narrative paths, distinguished bodily storytelling and the occasional one to 1 for the fortunate (or scrapy) punter, then making use of this to the ritualistic carnage of Euripides’ Bacchae is a prudent mixture.

But simply as that very same immersive theatre firm (who doesn’t must be named) has taught makers the way to create, it’s additionally taught audiences the way to eat. In the compact house of the Crypt underneath St. Peter’s church, forty hooded figures scurried and crowded and have been usually shooed away from furnishings by the motion of the piece. Even within the three parallel passageways of curving brick, the FOMO appeared to excite the gang right into a vibrational state by which their numbers appeared to triple. This was introduced into stark aid for this author, who was handled to a solo pre-show expertise. Being plied with medicine and alcohol (solely a few of which have been placebos) then bouncing from consecration to cross-examination and again out into the world of the play, primed me exceptionally properly. It additionally jogged my memory what it feels prefer to be immersed, a sense that dwindles when all the opposite flies on the wall take up the vast majority of your imaginative and prescient.

This is the character of the beast and the economics of this sort of work is unyielding. And regardless of these restrictions creative director Sebastian Huang must be counseled for his tackle the established system. Stripping the Grecian tragedy again to the naked bones, and offering dialogue that slips away from the characters, as their sanity does, units up clear stakes. The house can be delineated between the tribe of Thebes and the cohort of Dionysus, with motion between these areas and the central hall giving extra perception into the character’s slant because the story progresses. There is a dedicated end up from the entire solid, but it surely’s arduous to not spend time in search of out Peter Broughton’s god of wine and insanity. His Charles Manson appeal and psycho sexual clowning brings a mandatory sense of hazard.

— Roderick Morgan, London Correspondent

Pew Pew’s Fundraiser — Pew Pew
New York, NY; Run Concluded

As a critic for No Proscenium, I see plenty of bizarre and surreal immersive theatre. Even essentially the most industrial experiences — like long-running immersive shopping center Showfields or the bizarro Chick-fil-A Christmas pop-up of 2019 — have unusual, creative little souls. But a brand new ceremonial dinner expertise by New York-based artwork collective Pew Pew would possibly take the cake for the weirdest — and great — immersive present I’ve seen so far.

A fundraiser and proof-of-concept for Pew Pew’s plans for a everlasting house for his or her work, the limited-run ceremonial dinner was a style of what the corporate has to supply in future experiences. Pew Pew describes itself as a “residence for these in search of artistic connections,” and the ceremonial dinner’s fundamental goal was offering a means for members to attach with each themselves and the folks round them.

Even although the present’s run is over, I stay reluctant to over-explain the present simply in case Pew Pew decides to remount it for a wider viewers — but in addition as a result of trying to clarify surreal artwork is form of like making an attempt to clarify a joke. Devoid of context, it should inevitably fall flat.

Here’s the essential gist of the present: members are invited to go to a 60s time-warp lodge in Bushwick(naturally) for a cocktail party. You acquire entrance with a secret, jotted down on a bit of paper. You’re blindfolded, led via a maze (Conga-line model), and sat at a desk subsequent to an individual you have no idea and can’t see. You and this particular person, who you realize solely by voice, will inform one another tales of your life, compose poems collectively, and eat unknown meals collectively all earlier than you ever see their face.

When the blindfolds come off, you end up sitting round a large desk set with stunning and aromatic flower preparations and baskets of fruit. Over a number of hours, you eat a wide range of meals — some good, some purposefully terrible (I believe) — when you are prompted with dialog matters to debate with the folks round you.

And whilst you discuss and eat, a solid of unusual characters weaves via the room — a dancer climbs on high of the desk and feeds you strawberries, somebody performs violin beside your ear, a bellhop with a rotary telephone strapped to his head provides you the possibility to make a telephone name (however as an alternative of a dial tone you solely hear the dulcet tones of Rick Astley letting you realize you’ve been rickrolled). Even the house of the “lodge” itself modifications, strikes, surprises you all through the evening.

Pew Pew’s ceremonial dinner was, at its core, about permitting members to confront their very own expectations — from one thing so simple as what any given meals will style prefer to the extra profound expertise of assembly somebody with out first judging them by their outward look — in an area that was endlessly stunning and delightfully bizarre.

The impending closure of Sleep No More has been an enormous blow to the New York City immersive theatre scene, however reveals like Pew Pew’s ceremonial dinner are a reminder that great and thrilling artwork continues to be made.

–Cheyenne Ligon, NYC Correspondent

Photo: Tanya Bonakdar Gallery

Vox — Jónsi
Free; Los Angeles, CA; Closes Feb 3, 2024

I used to be unprepared.

The curtain was commonplace theatre: black, velvet, heavy. I first heard the shrouded sounds from throughout the room, however the vocalizations had no recognizable form or which means; from the skin there was nothing precisely identifiable. I pushed via the material and my thoughts went clean.

Inside was Vox. It’s one among three installations by Jónsi, finest often called the lead singer of the Icelandic rock band Sigur Rós. Vox is the anchor piece of his newest present of the identical title on the Tanya Bonakdar Gallery. All three installations are hybrid works of sound and vibrational sculpture, with the addition of sunshine and scent for Vox. Similar to Jónsi’s earlier present in Los Angeles, these artworks apply visceral strain. Vox particularly emerges as a uncooked, compressed hallucination, one way or the other each primordial and preternatural. Sitting inside, I rode waves of elation and rage. It was a sensory montage of a spot past cognition.

The gallery describes Jónsi’s work as “immersive installations that reconfigure the act of listening by way of sight, scent, style, and contact.” That reconfiguring is a tactile occasion; it’s a palpable rearrangement of the senses. I felt as if I might hear via my mouth and scent via my pores and skin. The artworks’ tonal palettes embrace “ambient sounds, mechanically generated frequencies, samples from nature, in addition to [Jónsi’s] personal voice.” Vox additionally employs a “fragrance organ.” The scents are delicate and have a familiarity that’s simply out of attain, just like the phantom ache of an unrecallable dream.

When I left the gallery I felt unimaginable, overwhelming… aid. Not aid from the artwork, however as a result of of it. The expertise of expertly crafted, utter sensation — with out the deadweight of overintellectualization — was a whole respite. Vox is pure alchemy.

Laura Hess, Arts Editor

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Review Rundown: Of Dionysus & Ambient Audio Alchemy was initially printed in No Proscenium on Medium, the place persons are persevering with the dialog by highlighting and responding to this story.

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November 21, 2023 at 10:16PM

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