Steve Goble

Choose life. (Deuteronomy 30:19)

Half-hour Radio 4 show from last year scratching the surface of the recent rise in immersive theatre.

I gotta admit, I realised even back at college that I didn't really 'get' theatre that required me to sit in an audience watching actors pretending to be people who don't exist walking around a room that wasn't really somewhere else. I also had a problem with the unnatural volume of their voices. Most of all I had a problem with the characters' difficulty in exiting that room. In case you're wondering, I was at college to take Theatre Studies. Yes, I'm sure that I probably was a difficult student.

What did used to get my imagination pumping though was whenever I saw a production that stepped over the line and into the real world. My world. Topical references to the banning of the book Spycatcher in Accidental Death Of An Anarchist. In The Rising Generation (performed by the other class) we all got called up onto the stage to help build a spaceship. Even the jokes about what the audience was missing on TV that evening in my school Christmas play when I was seven are the ones that have remained with me to this day. (Tenko or Kessler depending upon which night you attended)

It figures then that, aside from supporting friends' productions, I have spent most of my adult life not going to the theatre very much. And yet last year I saw Punchdrunk's The Crash Of The Elysium, in which the audience got swept up into a full-length bona fide Doctor Who adventure, and suddenly the possibilities of immersive theatre made sense to me. Thanks to the theatre's mailing list, I received notifications about some other productions in Ipswich that could similarly blur the suspension of disbelief. One of them - Avon Calling - would involve an actor posing as someone coming over to your house for the evening.

That idea sounds quite fascinating.

It's encouraging then to listen to this radio doco and hear about so many other productions that likewise seem to hook my desire for a more actual connection with a show, rather than merely a hypothetical one. You Me Bum Bum Train sounds thrilling!

Sounds like these guys actually want fewer bums in seats.

(available here)


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