Market research says ‘zombies’ is the answer

Elizabeth and Evan Wilson are currently producing immersive theater, interactive events in which audience members become improvisational actors within their productions. The Wilsons are newly married. She has a theatrical background; he is from the world of music promotion. Their first project “Halloween Lies” will take place in the Lounge at the Ashland Armory on Nov. 4. The Wilsons are also building Escape Rooms which are increasing in popularity in the Rogue Valley. We chatted at Case Coffee Roasters on Lithia Way in Ashland.

EH: How does this medium differ from other theatrical events?

ElW: The difference is that you’re not a spectator. When you get together with your friends, to go to see a play, you couple it with something else (dinner or going out for drinks afterward) that’s when you get to be social. During the performance, you are a spectator.

With this, you are a part of it, you’re actively participating, and you are actively socializing with the people around you. It fills that social need for people to bond together, to interact with each other, rather than sitting in chairs watching events unfold. Continue reading Market research says ‘zombies’ is the answer

Adult-themed puppet show tackles ‘Robopocalypse’

Josh Gross, artistic director of Puppeteers for Fears, has written a new horror musical comedy, “Robopocalypse: the Musical!” which opens Oct. 20 at Pioneer Hall in Ashland. It features live puppets, a live rock band with synthesizer, puppet rap battles, a light show, and multimedia backgrounds. I met Gross at Case Coffee Roasters on Siskiyou Boulevard in Ashland.

JG: A core part of our mission has always been to create new art and new pieces that come from a local voice. No one will have ever seen a puppet show quite like this one. We want to make theater for people who’ve never been given a reason to like theater. They’ve never seen a show that speaks to them, and they’ve never seen it in a place that they feel comfortable. There’s a whole untapped market out there.

EH: What are you saying with this musical?

JG: We should all be very afraid of artificial intelligence. Technology is now progressing faster than our understanding of its implications: It’s, in many cases, operating outside of a moral framework. It’s barreling along so fast, that we don’t know what we’re doing with it. The core of the musical is just a family drama, and how you cope with loss.

EH: How does this relate to politics?

JG: Our politics are not addressing the real threats that we face. We’re dumping money into military defense, and yet we’re actively at cyber war and little to nothing is being done about it. It’s this slow-moving disaster, where the groundwork is being laid, and no one sees the threat until it’s too late to do anything about it. We have integrated technology into our lives, but we aren’t thinking about, “What happens if it fails?” There are serious consequences that are worth serious consideration and careful policy. But I wouldn’t say that that’s the major emphasis of the musical. Continue reading Adult-themed puppet show tackles ‘Robopocalypse’