New play production gets the audience up and moving

By Tony Su

For the first time in Vancouver, a theatrical dance performance is getting the audience involved in the action.

The 605 Collective and Theatre Replacement have teamed up to bring dance and theatre together called The Sensationalists. The two want to bring an immersive experience for the audience. The play will revolve around the audience, said director Maiko Yamamoto.

“It uses the space in a non-traditional way. The Audience [will be] placed inside of the action,” Yamamoto said.

It was 605 Collective’s Josh Martin’s idea to try out a choreographing play. Martin and Yamamoto didn’t know what story of the play was going to be at first, but as the production went on they learned about autonomous sensory meridian response. Which characterized as a tingling sensation that goes up and down the spine, it’s exactly what they wanted for the audience to experience.

“[You can] have the tingle [feeling from] listening to music, you have this moment of free-song, this energy [in your body is the tingling feeling],” Yamamoto said.

When the audience gets up and becomes part of the performance, the performers won’t be expecting any dancing experience from the crowd.

“No one needs to know anything,” Martin said. “We [just] want them to feel something. We want them to get a sense of what it feels like to do the movement and be dancing with a group of people and to feel the music.”

Martin’s said he’s excited about the interaction show. His group routinely perform in front of a crowd, but it’s never engaging. This time around it won’t be show and tell anymore. But he does want people to be natural during the interaction.

“We want them to feel that they’re part of [the play] opposed to [watching],” Martin said. “Be yourself and try to get your own experience out of it.”

The interaction won’t be in the whole show. It will transition back to a traditional theatre seating.

“It’s a very constructed transfer [from part one to part two],” Yamamoto said.

The play will have two different kinds of seating plans, one involves the interaction and the other will not.

The show will start on May 12 at The Cultch’s historic theatre.