The cast was strong, especially the leads: Joana Knezevic, James T. Majewski and Erik Dabrowski. Their passion for these characters, down to the very subtleties, were studied and heartfelt—so natural and pure. It was apparent some of what was done last night was, in fact, improvised—not necessarily because it seemed unnatural, but because it was SO natural. The use of improv in a show of this form (immersive) was never more appropriate. Brilliant.
Sound played a huge role in the show design, with the strong droning hum of a tortured instrument fading in and out throughout the piece. Light and the use of projections were also used sparingly but effectively throughout. The set was minimalist, providing for a freer atmosphere around which the actors and audience could readily navigate. Carissa Songhorian, who played Johanna, choreographed several sequences that were extremely powerful and complimented the artistic essence of the show quite beautifully. Her dancing was phenomenal! A fabulous piece of theatre.
What I didn't like
The show was a bit slow in getting started, but I don’t blame the actors or the direction as much as I hold the audience accountable for their lack of participation. There were a number of “newbies” in the audience, who weren’t aware that we are ALL responsible for creating art in immersive theatre, including the audience.
Although it’s not a big deal, the set should be secured into place a little better. It wobbled and, though I never feared for anyone’s safety, it was occasionally a distraction. Considering how amazing this show turned out to be, a little set wobbling is worth it to have been in the audience last night. This cast and crew should be thrilled! I know I am.
My overall impression
Imagine going to a museum, in which all of the statues of a particular era came to life and played out a gripping moment in history right before your eyes. Now imagine that you become part of that history when they invite you into their world, no questions asked. That’s what immersive theatre is and that is what Jonghee Woo achieved in his immersive rendition of Ibsen’s Ghosts at the Thymele Theatre last night. A beautiful interpretation of such ugly subject matter, Woo reminds us that these issues transcend the generations; a timeless tribute to those who fought against backward social (and spiritual) mores and lost.