Interactive Theater

Stage Fright

Third Rail Projects' latest groundbreaker, "Ghost Light," drops you in the midst of shadowy backstage characters after the curtains close.

Photo courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

The immersive theater boom in NYC is showing no signs of dying down. At the heart of the explosion is Third Rail Projects, the production company behind two of the most influential and successful immersive productions in the last decade. In their still-running Then She Fell, which premiered in 2012, audience members are guided by performers in an Alice in Wonderland–ish walk-through of a fictional hospital/asylum complex. Their next experimental project (now closed), The Grand Paradise, “flew” audiences to a tropical oasis and toured them around a 1970s Floridian resort, Julie the cruise director–style. If those two productions are any indication, the company’s latest adventure, Ghost Light will be a summer-season must-see.

Photo courtesy of Julieta Cervantes

This time around, though, Third Rail Projects may finally be breaking some of its own rules. The show is likely to be a guided, on-foot performance like its previous hits but, in a change of leniency, audience members must arrive strictly on time (latecomers won’t be admitted). Though little has been revealed about Ghost Light’s plot, it does promise to be theater about theater. Attendees will “navigate through a series of real and dreamlike landscapes beyond the footlights” of the stage, according to the synopsis on Lincoln Center’s website. (A “ghost light,” in theater parlance, is an electric light left on in a theater even when the stage is empty and would normally be completely dark.) Most likely you’ll witness the very dramatic goings-on of a ghostly troupe behind the scenes. Beware of—or be intrigued by—“uneven floor surfaces,” “partial nudity,” and “adult content.”

Why You Should Go: This experimental experience is taking over a very traditional venue, the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center, which is sure to turn heads and disorient audiences who are used to proscenium performances. Based on the popularity of Third Rail Projects’s previous shows, tickets will disappear—so get in soon!

Ghost Light
Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center
150 West 65th Street (between Amsterdam Avenue and Broadway), Upper West Side
Through Sunday, August 6