“You’re invited to leave your inhibitions (and Prohibitions) behind for a decadent 360° party in the Roaring Twenties. Indulge your inner flapper as you mingle with an unruly mix of vaudevillians, playboys, divas, and ingénues in a Manhattan apartment lost in time.” From the creators of last year’s immersive, experiential theater performance that we also covered, “Sweet & Lucky” the DCPA’s new Off-Center show “The Wild Party” is a similar experience but different. Confused? That’s good – the creators and two-time True West Award-winning Director Amanda Berg Wilson, want the audience to be surprised, it makes for a more exciting experience. Read on if you would like to know a little bit more of what to expect.
The audience begins the experience all together in a main room and is free to mingle about, have a seat, and buy drinks. Then the show begins with a fun musical act and the performers weave through the audience dancing, singing, and chatting with the crowd. They playfully ask groups of us to follow them into another room until the entire audience has been transported to the other side. Unlike “Sweet & Lucky” where the different groups of audience members are separated and experience different scenes in different rooms, all of the audience members of “The Wild Party” end up in one room together to watch one big show play out all around them.
The First Act is one big party, full of fun, flappers, booze and tunes, accompanied by a seven-piece band! You really feel like you’re at the party with the scenery (and almost everyone in attendance dressed up), the music, and the actors interact with the audience, teaching us to dance for example. We saw people of all ages around us, from 21 to 70’s, dressed up and having a fun night out. “Our goal with each audience member is that they are going to experience a kind of release that you only have when you have had a really wild night," Director Wilson said.
Debauchery turns disastrous in the Second Act as the party’s guest’s gin sets in. The plot thickens dramatically as the actors’ songs and actions reveal their feelings bubbling under the surface and themes such as race, gender, and religion are brought to the forefront. Accompanying this we hear adult language, see uncomfortable situations, nudity and violence. The mood gets real serious towards the end and almost makes us loose our buzz too, even after we all just had a complimentary shot of gin. The show’s tagline is, “When the night is over…No matter what happens…Blame it on the gin.” We came away with many different interpretations of the true moral of the story and left wishing the best parts of the party weren’t over.
The Wild Party is a musical by Michael John LaChiusa and a book by him and George C. Wolfe. The story is based on the 1928 Joseph Moncure March narrative poem of the same name. The show features all local actors, and runs most nights October 11 - 31, 2017 at The Hangar at Stanley Marketplace. Tickets for Sat, Oct 28 and Tue, Oct 31 include a post-show party with a costume contest, music, and dancing!
Immerse yourself in a sinful good time; hurry tickets are almost sold out.
By Tiffany Candelaria