Plunge – Dive In
A REVIEW BY PANDORA LOCKS
Hundreds of Marylanders may be submerging themselves in sub-artic Bay waters for Special Olympics (Polar Bear Plunge), but, thanks to my boss, I got the chance to plunge into a completely different, but equally bizarre experience. I was fortunate enough to attend a very exclusive showing of Plunge from Submersive Productions.
The concept was born out of a one-on-one experience that occurred during their hit The Mesmeric Revelations of Edgar Allan Poe. Apparently “the stranger” (Martha Robichaud) took several audience members per night into an exclusive room, and each person got a personalized immersive theater experience. Co-founder Glenn Ricci said it was the highlight of the evening for many patrons. The concept was to explore this idea further, and hinge it around the theme of being an outsider, or “other.”
Upon entering, theatergoers were handed a passport. The room consisted of five small stands each with an object illuminated in the center. There was a shoe, a map, a clock, a bag, and a small red heart on a pedestal. As the maître de introduced you to the space, you were asked when you were ready for your first experience. There is no turning back now- and even if you arrived with an entourage, these are all single person experiences. So leave your friends, and shrug off your inhibitions, just fucking plunge, I guess. I was ushered first into the map room.
Cori Dioquino was a lost traveler in a foreign location who needs help finding her way back to a local hub. You are thrust onto an all white subway train, complete with sound effects, when the “traveler” enters and sits down next to you. She is friendly and pleasant and engages you in a conversation about travel and being lost. It is intimate, not too scary, and a bit renegade. Okay, my shoulders came down a bit from my earlobes and I started to feel a bit of ease with this experience.
When that experience was over, I returned to the main space. There are several activities to keep you busy while waiting for another experience to become available. One is a wall with questions and answers- one is a photo selfie gallery with instructions, and another a magnetic poetry style table. There is also a quiet space for those that need to gather themselves.
My passport was stamped making me feel like I’d done something important, but had I? So far this was easy, bring on the next one!
I got to experience four of the five in my afternoon. I chatted up a shoe repair man from Baltimore, sat in a surreal living room in East Baltimore with a young philanthropist, and apparently signed my heart away in a deal for world peace (or something, I think they might have spiked my tea). All in all it was fun, interesting, and uplifting.
BOTTOM LINE: For a unique theater going experience, you can’t beat anything Submersive Productions. The idea of the “other” is so prominent in our warped, fucked up reality; it was nice to talk to some odd characters who weren’t politicians. An eye-opening, though-provoking experience that was gone way too quickly. (Missed it, it was just Feb 2-5!)
Email Pandora Locks at firstname.lastname@example.org
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