For the past few months in Los Angeles a mysterious cult has been up to no good... or so the makers of The Tension Experience would have you believe. After months of speculation and rumors the cat was finally let out of the bag when what appeared to be an Alternate Reality Game turned out to be the lead up to: an immersive horror experience.
So that's a two-fer for NoPro. Our interest was piqued.
Yet there was still little in the way of information on just who was behind all the cloak and dagger shenanigans. That is, until today. The Tension Experience pulled back the curtain for the LA Times and revealed its creator as Darren Lynn Bousman, director of Saw II, III, IV and of Repo! The Genetic Opera.
We were lucky enough to sit down with Bousman a couple of weeks back to talk about The Tension Experience, how a filmmaker finds himself doing immersive horror, conspiracy theories, and his deep passion for immersive theatre. Oh, and we also talk about how hard it is to get a show up and running in LA.
This is one of my favorite interviews in the who series so far. I hope you dig it too.
This one's for the record books.
John Rosenberg of the (currently) Culver City-based Hella Fresh Theater joins host Noah Nelson for what can only be described as a late-night dorm conversation about high school theatre, putting plays on in your own living room, and the living legacies of the worst people ever.
Not exactly the usual chit chat.
All that plus News & Notes on this, the 60th episode of No Proscenium.
(Contains strong language.)
Last year play collaborative arts venue, one of the producers of immersive and interactive shows in LA, was shut down by the vice squad for running a DIY performance venue.
For the past month Noah--our host--has been helping out the campaign to "legitimize play" and bring performing arts back to the space that until now has been zoned as an art gallery. You've probably heard us talk about it on the show.
In this episode Noah talks with the power trio at play--Nicole Rosner, Meredith Treinen, and Scott Monahan--about how the campaign came to be, the obstacles they've faced in bringing the space back, and more.
Check out the play IndieGoGo campaign at https://igg.me/at/playdtla/x/7051521
In the experimental Think Tank podcast studio Noah sits down with Ben Taylor of Escape Authority--a new site focusing on escape room games--and calls up Ben's partner Chris Moschella in Orlando to talk about their new site and what makes a great escape room.
All that and a Noah riff on the VRLA Expo that took place this weekend in LA as part of the News & Notes.
Brought to you by our friends at Drafty, the lighting, projection and sound design tool for theatrical designers: drafty-app.com.
In NYC: Zay talks with choreographer Avital Asuleen, co-creator of the immersive dance theatre piece Ephemera about this dream ballet fueled by drinking and debauchery.
Meanwhile, in LA, Noah has the news and notes. And he probably shares TMI. That is his M.O. these days. (That and writing in the third person again.)
Brought to you by our friends at Drafty: the CAD program built from the ground up for theatrical designers by a theatrical designer. Learn more at drafty-app.com.
This week host Noah Nelson is joined by Julianne Just, Genevieve Gearhart, and Matthew Bamberg-Johnson of LA's The Speakeasy Society to talk about their latest production Johnny: The Shell. This is the second part of their cycle of work exploring Dalton Tumbo's Johnny Get Your Gun, which opens on July 21st at St Mark's Episcopal Church in Glendale and runs through August 13th.
All that plus our usual news and notes. Brought to you by our friends at Drafty--the theatrical design program built by and for theatrical designers--check it out at Drafty-App.com--and the support of our Patreon backers.
In 2014 Boxcar Theatre's The Speakeasy was the most talked about immersive experience in San Francisco, and then it disappeared. Now, after an extensive rebirthing experience the show is returning with a brand new, custom-built space. NoPro SF's Albert Kong visits the site of the new show while it is under construction to talk to Boxcar's Artistic Director Nick Olivero and producer David Gluck for a walk through.
Then, though the magic of the internet, host Noah Nelson speaks to Gluck and Olivero about the unique crowd-investing plan that is powering The Speakeasy's rebirth and setting a path for the production's future.
In other words: this isn't your usual episode.
Brought to you by our friends at drafty-app.com.
Host Noah Nelson is joined by Chris Eng, founder of Mojo Maps Expedition Co., an LA-based theatrical walking tour group that mashes up history and improv in Venice, the Arts District, and Echo Park. The two dig into Chris' background as a business guy at Walt Disney Imagineering, creating experiences in urban landscapes, and just what the market is for this kind of work.
All that plus the usual News and Notes, brought to you by our friends at Drafty-app.com: the theatrical design tool built by and for theatrical designers.
This week: Noah interviews writer Ruth McKee, one of the core members of LA's Chalk Repertory Theatre, about her latest play 'In Case of Emergency.' The conversation ranges from the themes of the play itself, to how McKee's writing process is driven by a sense of space. A great, into the artistic meat of it, kind of episode.
All that, plus the news and notes-- and a call for feedback.
THIS MONTH'S EPISODES ARE BROUGHT TO US BY OUR FRIENDS AT DRAFTY-APP.COM
If you've been following the LA scene you have probably heard of Screenshot Productions, or at least their work: the company popped up during last year's spooky season with the solo haunt "Fear Is What We Learned Here" and since then have mutated into something... unique.
Screenshot founder Nicholas Sherwin Jr. and his partner Meghan Farrington sit down at No Pro headquarters with host Noah Nelson to talk about crafting one-on-ones, taking the step beyond extreme haunts and food. What? We're human. Humans talk about food. (Trust us, it makes total sense in context.)
All that plus your news and some notes that take us beyond theatre.
Brought to you by our friends at Drafty. The Computer Aided Design program built from the ground up for theatrical designers by a theatrical designer. Learn more at drafty-app.com
Sophie Bortolussi is the choreographer and co-director of LA's immersive hit The Day Shall Declare It (which just announced an extension). Sophie sits down with host Noah Nelson in the back patio of the show right before a performance in the Arts District of DTLA (so, you know, it's gonna get loud) to talk about the show, how her training with the Martha Graham company led to a career in immersive theatre, and oh yeah: the art of all this stuff.
All that and the usual news and notes, brought to you this month by our friends at Drafty (drafty-app.com): a computer aided design tool for theatrical professionals. (And yes, we explain EXACTLY what that sentence was all about herein.)
Steve Peters, host of The Story Forward Podcast--a show about the future of storytelling and entertainment--joins our own Noah Nelson for this hybrid of both shows. Fun fact: Steve and Noah have known each other for a few years now, but they've never sat down and had a one on one before now.
Another fun fact: Steve isn't just a podcast host, he's also an experience designer. Both with his company No Mimes Media and at other experience design houses Steve has worked on some of the biggest Alternate Reality Games ever. So big that he's still not allowed to mention some of them by name. But you're all some of the world's finest detectives, I'm sure you can figure them out.
Yes, it's a big show--with a big News & Notes to lead us in. One that includes Noah's super fresh impressions of Annie Lesser's 'Apartment 8' at the Hollywood Fringe Fest.
LET'S GET TO IT.
(And thanks for 50 episodes, y'all. Here's to 50 more.)
In this oh so special episode hosts Noah and Zay connect for a little late-night philosophizing over the role of narrative in immersive experiences. This is one you're going to want to pour a drink and mull over.
Content warning: I think we might get a little salty. Frankly, it's been a minute. Better just avoid playing this around kids.
All that and the usual news and notes.
The director of Second Skin, a site-adaptive piece currently performed on the Santa Monica beach, joins host Noah Nelson for a discussion about site-specific theatre. This one gets *philosophical*, but in a totally fun way.
All this plus the usual news & notes.
Zay Amsbury (@zayamsbury) takes over the interview duties this week to talk with Jennine Willet and Elizabeth Carena of Third Rail Projects (@TRPNYC) about the development of the company's latest show The Grand Paradise ahead of its scheduled close at the end of May. Secrets are revealed, ideas dissected, and a rando calls in with some weird story.
All this and the usual news and notes from Noah Nelson on the West Coast.
Noah is back in LA with lessons learned from his NYC trip in this host-only episode.
We kick off with an extended news & notes before leaning into some thoughts on The Grand Paradise, Accomplice, Then She Fell, Sleep No More, how to manage problem guests, and wrap with program notes and a question for you, the No Pro audience.
With Noah in New York City, No Pro's dynamic duo gets to go on an adventure together. They pick Janet Cardiff's 'Her Long Black Hair' an audio walking tour piece from 2004 that feels like it could have been made last week. Set in Central Park, 'Her Long Black Hair' takes listeners on a journey that can leave you feeling like you've slipped the bonds of times.
This episode was recorded in Central Park, NYC.
Access the play: https://phiffer.org/hlbh/
One of our favorite shows of 2015 is returning to the site of its run in LA's Arts District. But what they found might surprise you... or not, if you know the Arts District.
The work to get The Day Shall Declare It back up on its feet for a May 10 bow has begun, and Wilderness founder Annie Saunders takes host Noah Nelson on a tour of the site where they talk about the future fate of the Arts District.
All that plus news, notes, and some advice on how to get in on the pre-sale for The Day Shall Declare It, which starts on April 9th.
Host Noah Nelson (@noahjnelson) takes YOUR questions about the--still emerging--immersive art form.
All that, plus news and a special announcement about a favorite show returning to Los Angeles.
Designer Uriah Findley (@theuriah) has been caught up with some of the most talked about long-form immersive experiences of the last decade. His work with Nonchalance on "The Jejune Institute" was documented in the film "The Institute" and he was instrumental in the building of "The Latitude," which reached its controversial conclusion in San Francisco this Fall.
In the wake of "The Latitude" Findley and game designer Anthony Rocco (@anthrocc) have teamed up to create their own experience design firm: Foma Labs.
Host Noah Nelson talks with Findley and Rocco about the ethics of experience design, how Foma approaches the work, and what lessons they both took away from "The Latitude."
Get your thinking caps on: we get philosophical up in here.
Host Noah Nelson drops in on NoPro SF curator Albert Kong and gets a lesson in Bay Area public/prankster performance art, and a glimpse into how Albert approaches his version of the newsletter. A fun conversation to be sure!
Lauren Ludwig (Hamlet-Mobile, Lost Moon Radio) is the director and adaptor of And The Drum, a movement based immersive in LA's Koreatown that is one part dinner party and two parts exploration of the poetry of Martha Marion. The piece, performed at Marion's own home, is one of the more stunning pieces of work to be staged on LA's immersive scene in the past year.
Ludwig speaks with host Noah Nelson (@noahjnelson) about her process for And The Drum in this fast paced, insightful discussion.
All that and the usual news and notes.
NEW YORK CITY: Zay Amsbury talks with Jennine Willett and Elizabeth Carena of Third Rail Projects, the company behind Then She Fell and The Grand Paradise. Settle in for a history of the company, a SECRET ORIGINS special if you will. (Ed. Note: No one but you will get that reference, Noah.)
In other words: this is the big one. The episode we've been dying to do since the start of the podcast... and we're less than a year old.
All that, plus Noah Nelson has the usual news and notes.
Sign up for the newsletter: NoProscenium.com.
Check out the Medium collection.
We go off the beaten path this week to talk to the creators of Escape Room In A Box: The Werewolf Experience, which aims to bring the escape room genre home. The duo behind the game--Juliana Patel and Ariel Rubin--are two stay-at-home moms who love escape rooms but find it increasingly hard to get everything in order to get out to them. So they used their game playing acumen--and their theatre degrees, what???--to create a dramatic, at-home version of the phenomenon.
Come along as we talk about bringing he escape room experience home, and the pitfalls of crowdfunding--something I know more than a few of you have either considered or know a thing or two about yourselves.
Artists Scott Hove and Baker's Son join host Noah Nelson, along with Think Tank gallery Creative Director Jacob Patterson and Arya Davachi--director of Rough Sleeper--which will be using the gallery's Break Bread installation as the backdrop for his show.
The conversation waxes philosophical about the nature of collaboration and the intersection between art installations and immersive theatre.
Rough Sleeper will play out on just two dates--March 3rd and 4th--at the gallery. The Break Bread installation will be open through March 13th.