Monday, July 16, 2018

"The best augmented reality I saw this year was live theater funded by a liquor company"

Created by Third Rail Projects, a New York-based theater company that made the acclaimed and still-running intimate immersive theater piece Then She Fell, Behind The City was an open, relentlessly coordinated work of impossible time bends. I entered rooms in random buildings. Had snacks from strangers. Listened to odd messages. Wore headphones that directed me to places. Sat in lobbies. Stared up from the street into windows where performers acted, and listened on my headphones from below. Plugged wires into strange circuit boards with a group of operatives that claimed to send messages through time.

I went through parts of the real city, waited on street corners and in hotel lobbies for events to happen, had conversations with a stranger, a fellow audience member with whom I walked for blocks and blocks, and who I realized halfway through lived in the same town as me. Moments happened in ways that felt like reality was now in flux. Was that movie theater in the hotel always there? Who is that person across the street? Is my companion a performer, or another "audience" member?