GretchenAudience takes silent role in local interactive production

The sky was dark and the air was cold as the audience waited on the steps of The Lantern Community Church for opening night of Gretchen’s Nightmare — a macabre interactive play comprised of 11 actors who take their audience on a visual journey through poetry, song and dance.

 Through the tinted windows you could see the faint red light from dozens of candles that decorated the old church. There was an eerie glow.

The setting

“We got the church and the space, and thought that it would be a good idea toMaryLeBlanc as Gretchen in Gretchen’s Nightmare.

Photo courtesy of 8ROJO do a scary kind of production,” Javier Vilalta, creator of the interactive performance, said.

The performance begun the moment Vilalta opened the door of the church and asked the audience to step inside. The room was small and the sound of whispering surrounded wind the audience.

“The setting was just perfect,” Sam Bell said. While he enjoyed the performance, Bell cautions that, at times, it can be quite creepy.

Interactive experience

The audience’s first task was to read six statements. Each attendee was to decide which one best represented his or her feelings. After one had been chosen, the audience got a scarf corresponding with his or her choice and was asked to tie it over their mouths for the duration of the performance. This was to remind everyone that, though spoken to, the audience was not permitted to respond.

After this, the group of six audience members was instructed to walk up an old stairwell and knock on the first door on the right.

Vilalta said that he had always wanted to experience an interactive play. He, therefore, decided to create one that others could enjoy.

“I thought it was great the way they got six people to be the lead characters,” audience member Bruce Watson said. Watson said he found the entire production to be very inventive and original.

Shawn Bell – another audience member – agreed with Watson, he liked that they were included as a major part of the action without having to be too heavily involved.

GretchenDubnyk as Mephistopheles and Davis as Gretchen in Gretchen’s Nightmare.

Photo courtosey of Justin Michael CarriereLooking towards the future

Though Gretchen’s Nightmare was written and created by Vilalta, it had been adapted from the second half of Goethe’s Faust part one, Faust: The First Part of the Tragedy.

The production continues this week from Tuesday to Sunday and will also be running Oct. 30 with final performances on Oct. 31.

Performances begin at 7:30 p.m. at the Lantern Community Church in Inglewood. Reservations are required as only six audience members may attend each performance. Tickets are $20 and four to six performances play each night. 

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