Below is a video teaser and review for Prologue, a workshop for a larger piece, that debuted at Midsummer Scream 2018. Huge thanks to Kevin Hsu for filming the video, Jon Kobryn for his editing, and the team behind Prologue for the opportunity to experience and record.
There’s a small table with white and red stones upon it on a push cart in front of me, and a barefoot man sitting cross-legged behind it. I sit across from him and we start to play a strange mirroring game as we are wheeled around the room together. Eventually, satisfied, he asks me to follow him. We enter a tent, wherein I remove my own shoes, and then pad along the cool floor through a doorway into a world of physical and harmonic sensation.
This is Prologue, the collaborative effort from members of Screenshot Productions, Whisperlodge, and Alone; three disparate yet extremely complementary facets of the immersive theatre community. While the specific contribution of each member is unknown, Prologue expertly combines the things each production is perhaps best known for: Screenshot’s beautiful visuals and sonic overload, the calm security of Whisperlodge’s touch, and the energizing mystery of Alone, all into a singular, stunning package.
As I sit comfortably in the small, snug room, I alternate between gazing in awe at the whorls of light that project around me, perfectly in time and intensity with the music that fills the air, and allowing my eyes to shut as “guides” initiate varying levels of soothing contact. There’s no true “narrative” here, per say; there doesn’t need to be. My presence is a story unto itself; I’m here to feel something, and I undoubtedly do.
I’m not sure how long I sit there, being gently rocked back and forth by the sway of the melody, or the sway of the bodies tightly embracing me from either side—a minute may well have been an hour, I am so relaxed. There is a sense of security here that I scarcely believed was possible on a show of this small a scale.
And yet, within this relaxation there is just the slightest tinge of tension, sometimes indicated by a prolonged low note in the music, or a squeeze that’s just a bit too tight from my guides; a brief gasp of fear in the safest place you can be. This mixture of elements is why this union of immersive creatives is so successful; it thrives on the harmonious coexistence of all of its collaborators.
Prologue, for those fortunate enough to find it at Midsummer Scream this year, was a hidden gem amongst the well-loved convention. It was a brief journey into a melee of perception that only reaffirms the importance of collaboration, especially in immersive theatre, as a means to take the medium to a higher level.