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London production of “The Drowned Man” Made Me Love Theatre

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There is nothing like sitting down in a dark, air-conditioned room waiting for the show to start on screen. I crave the escape. Every time a show begins it draws me in and shows me a new perspective on life. I forget where I am and fully immerse myself in the moment.  I have always enjoyed the world of film, however, the world of theatre took me by storm this summer when I experienced Punchdrunk’s production of the “Drowned Man” in London, England.

Theatre and I have never met eye to eye.  I would sit in the theatre and appreciate the work that it took to put on the show via the set design, acting, costuming, etc. However, it never took me out of my element. Until the “Drowned Man.” I went to see the production during a study abroad trip this past summer. When my professor told my classmates that there would be no seats and to wear running shoes, I was a bit confused.

We arrived to not a theatre, but a warehouse. We had to check in our bags, and then walk through a maze like room to get onto the elevator that would take us to the show. Once we were in the elevator they gave us a synopsis of the play. It said  (what I thought) was the entire plot and outcome of the show. Then they gave us all white masks that we were told not to take off at any time. The man that ran the elevator advised us to experience the play alone. This did not stop my friend, Elena, and I from staying together. Finally we were released onto the third floor. Everyone hesitated, but then soon went in different directions.  Elena and I wandered into a room with carnival music coming from it.

 I have always enjoyed the world of film, however, the world of theatre took me by storm this summer when I experienced Punchdrunk’s production of the “Drowned Man” in London, England.

The play is completely interactive. The audience can touch the set, move to any room in the warehouse, and follow any of the actors at any time.  The music was a guide for the actors to know when to move from scene to scene. The show was on a loop system, so it went through three  times. This was put in order so that the audience members could have a better chance to see the entirety of the show from different points of view. This production was a unique experience for each individual.

The production company was established in 2000. Since then they have produced 17 shows. This form of theatre keeps the audience running around for three hours and lets them use their childlike imagination throughout the entire show. This new way of doing theatre has given me a new appreciation for this art form.

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