Block 705: June 29, 2014

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Back to reality after last weekend. Woof.

Date: June 29, 2015

Crane: 705

Days Spent on Project: 860

Location: NW Portland, OR

Person I would have sent it to: Noah N.

Vinnie and I, looking back, must have done something right with that small workshop of The California Project. One of the questions behind immersive theater that I find most intriguing deals with when exactly the performance starts. Without a traditional theater building, with its entrance, lobby, auditorium, seats, proscenium, and use of lights that “go down” and tell an audience to sit down and be quiet and watch until the lights “go up,” I’ve realized that you need to find a new way to start The Performance.

Something I repeatedly ask myself is: is it possible to start the performance earlier than the actual time posted on your ticket? (Further questions, what is your ticket if there’s no box office? If there’s no box office, how do you get in? How do you buy that ticket?)

Could you market The Event in such a way that the audience’s anticipation for it made it seem vital?

Basically, could we build word of mouth in a controlled setting (a university)? And, if we could, what would happen?

We came up with a marketing campaign that was more effective than I could have imagined. I believe we had over 50 people come to each performance we did. Some people were asked to attend. Others came because they were curious.

Somehow, it worked. We had built a little buzz.

And strangely, somehow, that buzz managed to reach Noah in LA, and he drove up one evening to watch the show.

And then later, he emailed Vinnie and I to interview us about The Project and the process behind it. And then he published that interview in his online publication about immersive theater projects in Los Angeles. (This was the first time I realized that there is a small movement in that city to explore works like this, which I find really exciting!)

After that interview, I’ve tried to keep Noah in the loop as far as any other future permutations of The California Project. He and I follow each other on Twitter. We’re connected through Facebook. When I first moved to Portland last summer, I heard wind that he was talking about hosting a conference in LA for a few companies and artists that wanted to explore this style of work. It was to be held over a September weekend; I could totally go, but I didn’t.

Instead Noah and I spent an evening Skyping about the conference, ideas we had about the style of this work, and so on. It affirmed my belief that Noah is potentially a great ally to have if we’re going to try to figure out how to do another round of this stuff.

Music I listened to while sewing: The soundtrack to “Her,” the 2013 Spike Jonze movie starring Joaquin Pheonix.

Thoughts/Feelings behind the block: My dog and I are at work today, not that there are things to do here necessarily, but because it’s so much cooler in the office than in my apartment.

I thought Portland wasn’t supposed to have summers like this!

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