Prizm News / July 29, 2019 / By Ken Schneck
A new form of theatre will put audiences in the center of the action
If your idea of theatre is firmly rooted in the image of a seated audience watching the action unfold on the stage before them, WanderLust is going to turn your world upside down. Playing in and around the historic buildings of downtown Bedford, Ohio, the production is an example of immersive theatre: the audience follows the characters around the complex, interacting with them and watching the action unfold up close and personal. Prizm spoke with out director Adam Kern about what it’s like to put together such a unique production.
What brings you to the wonderful world of theatre in Ohio?
I’m originally from North Canton, started doing theatre in high school, and then kept it going at Kent State. Then I did my MFA at one of the longest named schools around: the American Repertory Theatre Moscow Art Theatre School Institute for Advanced Theatre Training at Harvard University. Since then, I’ve been doing theatre professionally for the past 15 years.
There are so many horror stories about working in the entertainment industry. Have you encountered difficulties?
It’s hard to make a living in the entertainment industry, unless you are living in New York or Los Angeles. Even then, it’s not easy. Almost everyone has a survival job. But theatre has always given me an opportunity to express the creative side that you can’t always express in a 9-5 job.
Why immersive theatre?
In a normal theatre setting you are sitting watching things happen. You are passive. Immersive theatre makes you a part of the action. You can go anywhere and talk to these characters. You can choose your own adventure. There are a thousand variations on how that can exist. This production is a little bit more guided. For our first big production in Cleveland, we wanted to introduce a form that was a bit more structured.
How does being an out director influence your work?
I think being out is less about how I interpret the vision for the work and more about how I interpret everything in the world. I am more confident in myself and the things I can create as an out person. We all have our own path. In the past year and a half, I have started to feel more comfortable and that has made progress for me as an artist. Although there’s no right or wrong way to be an artist, the more you can figure out who you are as a person, the easier it is to make something people want to see.
Sell us on WanderLust.
Immersive theatre is an entirely new thing to the Northeast Ohio area, and even to most of the Midwest. It’s an art form more geared to people who want a night of adventure. It’s a great opportunity to try something new and try a new type of entertainment.
“Shadow of the Run Chapter 1: WanderLust” runs from July 25 to August 4 in Bedford, OH. For more information and tickets, go to https://www.shadowoftherun.com