Letters from America
Sunday 25 November 2018
I recently went to an interesting piece of “immersive” theatre called A Midnight Visit. It was held in St Peters in a huge old empty furniture warehouse. The drama was based on the stories and poems of Edgar Allen Poe. We had to sign a waiver before entering. We were each given a black surgical mask to wear while we stood around in the foyer. There was an MC called The Undertaker who then selected people from the audience to enter the performance through different doorways. We went into different rooms and spaces which were variously got up in detailed Gothic sets reminiscent of Poe themes. The actors moved around in the spaces performing in among the audience. There were music and dance performances woven into some of the story fragments. Then there were features of the warehouse set which can only be described as playful – corridors and stairwells to climb through, mysterious rooms to explore. One room was filled with CCTV screens “secretly” relaying what audience members were doing in other rooms. Another room had a small sunken pool filled with soft pink balls and a sign saying No Jumping, and of course people did. At one stage there was a regal seeming actor strolling around, who would seat himself strategically and beckon a member of the audience to come over. He would then have an extended private conversation with that person. He beckoned me at one stage and asked me, whispering, what was I afraid of. It took me ages to decide but finally I said “uncertainty”. He said Oh no, you don’t need to be afraid of uncertainty, you need to be afraid of people who text and drive! Lol.
It was clever in parts, apparently developed from a similar immersive theatrical adventure which has been showing for years in an extended season in New York called Sleep No More (based on Macbeth). A Midnight Visit was ambitious and intriguing. I could happily have stayed on exploring for another hour. There are some great photos included in the link here to the review in the magazine Time Out.