Thursday, May 6, 2021

Space 55's Maritime Fantasy THE HIDDEN SEA Reboots The Virtual Play Experience With RPG Graphics, May 28-June 6, 2021


From premiering new works by renowned playwrights like Urinetown author Greg Kotis to restaging avant-garde classics like Ubu Roi, Space 55 has been bringing cutting edge theater to downtown Phoenix for over 15 years. For Space 55’s final virtual play of the season, we’re combining two things we love—surrealistic theatre & old school JRPGs like Final Fantasy and Chrono Trigger—to create a work of video game theatre!

Written by Radio Free Europa playwright Ashley Naftule, The Hidden Sea’s narrative flows across two different eras: A modern woman struggles to deal with her reality-warping nightmares about drowning at sea while, far back in the past, two sailors stuck on a crumbling life raft try to fend off hungry sharks & beguiling sirens. Designer Aleks Hollis used the RPG Maker MZ program to render the characters & environments of The Hidden Sea as a playable narrative game. Whereas most virtual theatre features the actors performing on Zoom, The Hidden Sea will be played as a game live by the show’s designer! A diverse ensemble directed by Sarah Starling will do live voice-acting, performing in real time as Aleks pilots their video game avatars through the virtual world of the show. All the show’s spoken dialogue will appear on screen in text boxes, making this an accessible show for the Deaf and hard of hearing.

Starring Katherine Anne Abruzzese, Tim Briggs, Xavier Jacob Morris, Lamar Overton, and Alison Stanley, The Hidden Sea will stream via Space 55’s Twitch and YouTube channels May 28-June 6. Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays at 7:30pm. The show is free to watch (donations are always appreciated). 

PLOT SUMMARY:

Sophia Islet has trouble sleeping. It isn’t insomnia or sleep apnea that troubles her: it’s her vivid nightmares of drowning and the very real underwater creatures that follow her back to her flooding apartment when she wakes up that give her grief. While Sophia struggles to cope with her impossible situation, over half a century in the past two sailors on a raft—Hans & Nikolai—try to stay afloat as sharks circle them & a mysterious siren tempts them with promises of love & immortality under the sea. Inspired by body horror, sea shanties, the weird fiction of Caitlin R. Kiernan, and Terry Gilliam movies, The Hidden Sea is a darkly comic tale about anxiety, cosmic synchronicities, mermaids, and lovestruck pet shop boys.

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