Scattered Players, a new, virtually-formed theatre company, presented its first preview for ‘Shattered Space’ on Saturday night, May 30. This is an immersive, participatory style of theatre involvement. And the adventure will be different with every audience.
“This is a remarkably imaginative way to virtually experience theatre and to help kids with an understanding of big events and reassure them that they can cope with kindness, caring, and empathy. It’s a very hopeful 50 minutes.“
Luckily for two of us audience members participating in the previews, one of the actors (Jennawsomesauce), also helped guide us. A bit of an introduction to how the process works (e.g., choosing where to go) would be helpful, which was duly noted.
It was fun! I imagine that kids would really get a kick out of this, with parents participating as well. A couple of the scenarios were mildly intense (I got an “that’s iconic” to one of my responses to a really talented young actor playing a 15-year-old girl which made me ridiculously proud) so parents could help with reassurance, particularly with the Shooting Rapids world which is the end of the universe where only one person is left to tell the story of her people.
But don’t be afraid to dive in. As a Star Jockey (that’s what each member of the audience is), you are tasked with using communication (listening and responding), collaboration, contact, empathy, and a willingness to understand in order to respond to the needs of others to keep a community thriving, even in the face of disaster. These are big messages and each person responds to in their own way, and the actors respond to the audience.
Each actor has a backstory and virtually gives a gift to take with us that might be useful to someone else in the Matra System. They have to think fast on their feet to respond to the audience, and really seem to have fun with it.
One of the greatest things about the experience is that each segment or world asks us to help out with responding to an emotion. In the first segment, the actor was an android who was going to crash land on a world that is 70 percent water and was experiencing hunger – which she didn’t understand. We helped her work through the emotions she was unexpectedly feeling and how to deal with them.
The settings are imaginative, if a little hokey in an adult’s eyes, but the cast is very good and fully immersed in their parts. This is theatre done on a shoestring, but it’s fun, silly and serious all at the same time – and surprisingly involving for that 45-50 minutes you are on your mission.
Chris Uehlinger has programmed an entire solar system that can be accessed on the web by any audience member in the world. The directors are Benjamin-Ernest Abraham and Lance Bankerd.
This is a remarkably clever way to virtually experience theatre and to help kids with an understanding of big events and reassure them that they can cope with kindness, caring, and empathy. It’s a very hopeful 50 minutes.
One caveat—the ending is a little abrupt. We were taken out of the experience to recharge and that’s it. A way to say goodbye to our Star Jockey shipmates would be a nice coda for a younger audience.
Shattered Space will be running “missions” three times per show night. There will be 30 “pilots” maximum per show. Shows will run Friday, June 5-28 on Friday, Saturdays, and Sundays.
The producers and directors recommend using Google Chrome to access the show, unless you are on iOS, in which case you must use Safari.
Running Time: Roughly 50 minutes with no intermission.
“Shattered Space” is accessible via a code which is emailed to the participants who have signed up. There will be another performance on Sunday, May 31, 2020 at 8 p.m. For more information, click here.