This is seriously blowing my mind, folks. No joke. One of my biggest obsessions this past winter was the interactive theatrical production/experience “Sleep No More” (still running until September 5th in New York, and you can read my feature story on “Sleep No More ” here: NYC’s Immersive Theatrical Hotel “Sleep No More” Like Cross Between David Lynch And “Eyes Wide Shut”). The mindblowing experience was created and directed by Felix Barrett, the founder and Artistic Director of London-based theater company Punchdrunk™, and in a recent profile in FastCoCreate, Barrett reveals how Punchdrunk is about to take their fascinating signature blend of mystery, surprise, goosebumps, creativity, and interactivity to a whole new level with the September launch of Punchdrunk Travel! If this isn’t my dream come true I don’t know what is. Barrett is understandably keeping a tight-lip on the details, but FastCoCreate gave a small taste of what to expect:
The idea behind Travel is that audience members, or travelers (those with control issues and the agoraphobic are advised to look away now) will arrive at the airport, set to embark on a journey without knowing where they are going or what will happen when they get there. Punchdrunk will organize a theatrical experience around the brave participant; the trip, and by extension, life, is the show. “The idea is that your life becomes a theatrical wonderland,” says Barrett. “Everything is centered around you, whether you’re in the streets, or sitting in a cafe or whatever you’re doing you’re lost inside the show. It’ll be difficult if not impossible to pinpoint the exact place where the show stops and the real world continues.” Clearly, partaking of the full Travel experience will require a considerable investment of time and money, but the company is exploring more accessible ways in. “We’re trying to make it scalable so whatever you can afford you can get a taste of it,” says Barrett. Taking immersive theater on the road is just the most extreme manifestation of Barrett’s core mission and the latest project to challenge Punchdrunk’s classification as a theater company. “I would still call Punchdrunk a theater company, because I suppose everything we do is inherently theatrical,” says Barrett.
You can get more amazing details of this incredible new Punchdrunk venture by reading the full story at FastCoCreate.com. And to enter the mother ship be sure to visit Punchdrunk.org.uk. Since Barrett launched Punchdrunk in 2000, the company has created over 20 interactive, immersive projects. Shows have combined elements of traditional theater, dance, art installation, and cinema with astonishing levels of art direction and “the poetry of spaces” to provide an open-ended experience for ticket buyers, who take an active part in exploring the story. My friends, travel is about to go from black and white with no sound, to the Holodeck from Star Trek: The Next Generation (or let’s say a more poetic version of David Fincher’s The Game), and I will be the first in line. Pure amazingness. To read The New York Times’ profile of Felix Barrett visit NYTimes.com. And for more information on New York’s “Sleep No More” immersive experience be sure to visit SleepNoMoreNYC.com.