Feeling groovy? Jazz hands at the ready? Ready to stand in fishnets, drink in hand, and debrief opening night? Step right up for ‘Dance Magic Dance: Cast Party‘, an immersive back-to-the-1970s, post-show theatrical event at FOLA, The Festival of Live Art.
Presented by theatre company The Boon Companions, you are invited to tread the boards inside the cavernous backstage of Melbourne’s beloved theatrical institution, the National Theatre in St. Kilda. The Companions create an impersonation of a theatrical private party in an access-all-areas event.
You are one of the famed cast of a musical in a town like New York. Prepare to relax, let your hair down, limber up, make connections, and get lost in the greasepaint — while gaining an inside look at a performer’s life on the other side of the stage.
From the moment you set foot in this old-style ‘theatre’, you know you are in for a unique immersive performance. You can wander freely about, sampling ‘happenings’ staged simultaneously.
Observe or partake in the life of theatre people…casual assignations in dark corners for cast flirting since call backs; the silent, coded communications of the backstage technical staff; dressing room banter and backstage gossip; tipsy photoshoots. Enjoy the casual extraversion of stage performers parading about semi-clad in their mock- Cabaret costumes – fishnet tights, tuxedo suits, bowler hats, ballroom high heels, corsets and dance tights. Or simply jump into a dance rehearsal and practice your hip thrusts.
Including piano singalongs, on-stage massage, group cuddle puddles, script read-throughs, dance rehearsals and costume fittings, there is little that you cannot sample to feel you are one of the cast.
You may be feted as the Next Big Thing as you’re cornered by a range of Broadway and theatrical hangers on – talent scouts, agents, musical directors, song writers, musicians, chorus dancers, groupies, out-of-town hopefuls – anyone with a love for the footlights. Indulge in random intimate, customised encounters, as a range of casting types regale you with compliments: ‘You were soooo good tonight! Congratulations. I saw you from off stage’.
Take the ultimate wannabe step and stand in the wings, imagining what it could be like for you to step out on Opening Night and dazzle your audience. I flashed back to performing as Ragged Blossom age five at this very venue.
Enjoy the irony and pleasure of participating as a cast member, accessing the friendly bar, and meandering amongst cast committed to ensuring you have a good night — even though you have no memory of performing anything. It the ultimate theatrical inside experience!
Sarah W. is a dance-trained theatre lover with a flair for the bold, and non-traditional performance platforms. On-the-street or in the box seat, she is always looking for quality works that push the envelope.
The Festival of Live Art runs until 13 March across a range of venues and sites across the inner Melbourne fringe. Buy tickets now. Some venues are not accessible.
Follow The Boon Companions on Facebook to find out about their next immersive theatrical production.