Be prepared to go beyond the normal play and be immersed in 19th Century Hound’s Those Who Lie Beyond, performing at Factory Obscura. In this show, every room is the “set” and you are part of their story. In this Performing Arts Q&A, Director / Creator, Ronn Burton, shares what you can expect in this original production.
What five words would you use to describe Those Who Lie Beyond?
Unexpected, electric, on-your-feet, in-your-face theatre. (I cheated with some compound words)
Now, using more than five words, what’s it about?
Those Who Lie Beyond is an immersive, promenade theatre piece, utilizing actors, musicians, dancers, and circus performers. This period piece tells the story of two young women on a journey of discovery, delving into mysterious worlds, encountering a host of surprising people, and exploring the themes of creativity, illusion, awakening, and transformation.
How did this production come about?
We collaborated with immersive art collective Factory Obscura. After attending their first installation SHIFT earlier this year, we approached some of the founders about creating an immersive theatre production in their new experience, BEYOND. It has been a joy to collaborate and be welcomed into the exquisitely detailed environment the Factory Obscura artists have immersed us in…building the show around their creativity.
Why have you chosen to do this show?
This show was written and created utilizing a process called “Devising” – the company of performers and creators assembled the show together in the rehearsal room, rather than a playwright authoring the show on their own ahead of time. We utilized a lot of European techniques that have been used to create shows like Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, The Laramie Project, and SpongeBob SquarePants. The actors improvise scenes, not only with words but using physicality and movement. In this process, my job as a director is not the conventional “You stand here. You walk over there on this line.” I encourage our performers to explore their full range and respond instinctively. Then my job, alongside Alex Prather – our “Writer in the Room” – was to take these explorations and work out the narrative like a sculptor with a lump of clay. We scraped bits off…you made a mistake and filled it in, and suddenly a form started to emerge.
What was the biggest challenge with this production?
The biggest challenge was figuring out the best way to move the audience through the space with the cast. The rooms are all different shapes and sizes and it took some logistic coordination to figure out how to get audiences to fit in each room in the optimal way.
What scenes or moments stand out to you that make the show worth sharing with people?
We’ve assembled an extraordinary group of performers! Each room in the BEYOND exhibit illuminates unique mysteries to be uncovered, and our performers add layers and levels of excitement, danger, and poignancy to the various worlds they inhabit.
Why should one see Those Who Lie Beyond?
“Those Who Lie Beyond is a world-premiere, first of its kind show in Oklahoma. Audiences won’t be sitting in chairs, but will move throughout the art installation, exploring multiple rooms and levels.”Those Who Lie Beyond is a world-premiere, first of its kind show in Oklahoma. Audiences won’t be sitting in chairs, but will move throughout the art installation, exploring multiple rooms and levels. In the vein of long-running New York City immersive theatre experiences like Sleep No More and Then She Fell, there will be opportunities for one-on-one interactions between audiences and performers in various nooks and crannies of the space. This show has been specially crafted for this space, for these actors, and for this city.
Anything else you want people to know?
It’s going to be exciting night of theatre. You won’t lean back in your chair with your arms folded, passively observing a story. You dive in alongside the performers, solving riddles, pushing the story along. The show needs you as an audience member to move forward. I think people will experience a kind of theatrical electricity that Oklahoma City hasn’t really seen before. If you’re excited about a new kind of theatre experience, this is the show for you!
Those Who Lie Beyond runs Friday and Saturday evenings at 9:15 and 10 pm, November 2nd-17th, 2018 at Factory Obscura (1522 S Robinson Ave, Oklahoma City). For more info and tickets, visit 19thCenturyHound.com.
Learn about Factory Obscura with Co-Founder and Director of Logistical Creativity, Kelsey Karper, and she shares what lies beyond in this Uncovering Oklahoma interview.