Updated: Jun 23, 2020
FuerzaBruta NYC, Daryl Roth Theater 2014 (Photo: www.broadway.com)
“Immersive Experience can be defined as a sensation of complete engagement to the point of forgetting anything outside the immediate moment.”-R. Biggins
It’s a beautiful word:
Involve oneself deeply in a particular activity or interest.
Synonyms: absorb · engross · occupy · engage · involve · engulf · bury · busy · employ · distract · divert · preoccupy · lose oneself in · get lost in
A perfect example of this could be a video game, board game, or a physical sport. The game engages your body and mind completely. Immersive theater replicates this feeling by allowing the audience to physically exist within the sets and scenes. Often times, the audience is part of the show’s story and they are asked to interact with the actors and other audience members.
I performed in an immersive theater show for many years in NYC and around the world. At the end of our show, it would rain in the theater. The actors were tasked with inviting the audience to dance in the rain with us. When we had done our job well, you could feel it. The energy was electric. It was as if everyone in the audience was vibrating together. I have so many beautiful memories of this final scene in the rain, and the affect it had on different people and different cultures. There is one memory that will forever stick in my mind. Even now, years later, I can’t think about it without getting choked up. There was an older gentleman in the audience wearing a full business suit who looked me in the eye, took my hand and skipped into that water with his arms open like a child. He allowed himself to dance like a fool by my side. I think we even did the robot. Maybe he forgot what he was wearing, maybe he didn’t care anymore, maybe he had three whiskeys at the bar before the show or maybe it was all of that. For a moment he was completely free, empowered, and present. That to me, is immersive theater.