Courtesy ONE OF US Artist Shayfer James Courtesy ONE OF US

Interactive Theater to Take Over St. Paul’s This Weekend

An interactive arts performance is set to take over St. Paul’s Lutheran Church on South 5th Street this weekend.

Taking a page from Chelsea’s popular “Sleep No More,” “One of Us: The Chapel,” will feature immersive, interactive theatrical performances created by actors and artists.

For “One of Us: The Chapel,” local artists were asked to build on the history of North Brooklyn – industrialization, organized crime and the creation of shore-side mansions, particularly in Williamsburg and Bushwick, as central themes of their performances.

Audience members will be escorted through the church as a range of artists perform pieces that allow audience members to either interact with or observe the performances as they take place.

“I work predominantly with film, which I think has fuelled my interest in immersive performance, as I love cinematic theatre and being in pieces,” said Maya Korn, part of the theater collective One of Us, originally based out of London, England, which is organizing the festival at St. Paul’s this weekend.

Some of the performances include “Eulogy,” a performance by singer-songwriter Shayfer James, who along with a group of actors will act out his song, “Seven Widows.”

“I put it together to be somewhat unpredictable, and have given the actors abstract concepts to work with rather than specific direction,” said James, who has performed at festivals like Art Basel. “It’s something I’ve only done once or twice, so it is a raw and exciting concept for me. It will be wonderful to see a song of mine reenacted in such a unique setting.”

Another performance, “Whoso Walketh Wisely,” is based on a story written by writer-actor Laura Heckel. In it, a girl, Alice, facing expulsion from high school for starting a coven-brothel visits Frank, carrying a backpack full of raw beef, trying to find an oven. What starts off as a seemingly harmless visit then escalates as both characters unravel.

“I love this idea of visitation – of the event itself being a temporary presence, particularly in a place of worship, not only because it’s exciting to see art and performance in a sacred space, but because churches inherently escalate emotion and dramatics,” said Heckel. “Churches are evidence of ancient questioning, and we’re merely continuing to ask some of those questions in a non-traditional way.”

Korn’s theater collective had similarly created an interactive show in London last year that was based on the dark history of city including Jack the Ripper, The Kray Brothers, and the Elephant Man.

At this weekend’s show, audiences can take part in six different performances – three on Friday and another three on Sunday with tickets selling at $20 for adults and $15 with student discount.

One of Us: The Chapel, Performances on March 28 and 30. The slots run between: 7-8pm, 8:30-9:30pm and 10-11pm, St Paul’s Lutheran Church of Williamsburg, 334 S 5th St, for tickets visit https://www.eventbrite.com/e/one-of-us-the-chapel-tickets-10947866363 for more information on the event visit https://www.facebook.com/events/706016429421247/ and to learn more about One of Us visit http://oneofuswchapel.com/.


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