I admittedly have some quirky interests, two of which being immersive theater and the works of Lewis Carroll. Which is why my boyfriend, Andrew, really hit it out of the park this Christmas when he bought us tickets to Then She Fell.
Haven’t heard of it? Neither had I, which gave him extra bonus points.
Then She Fell is an immersive theater experience combining a hospital ward, Alice in Wonderland, and just 15 audience members per show. Tickets sell out quickly due to the limited spots per showing so we attended the experience weeks after Christmas.
We were instructed to arrive at the show promptly at 10:30 p.m., so we explored nearby Bushwick and had a few cocktails beforehand. I’d recommend coming to this show with a slight buzz; I thought it helped me get more into an exploratory state of mind during the performance.
A nineteenth-century nurse quietly ushered us into the elaborate hospital set where we joined our 13 companions in a waiting area. We were checked into the hospital and served a vial of medicine, which was custom-developed by one of New York’s foremost mixologists. The nurse instructed that we were free and welcome to explore our surroundings during the evening without exiting our current room.
One by one we were escorted out of the waiting room and began our journey down the rabbit hole. For the majority of the performance I was one-on-one with the actors, and I loved the sense of self-exploration that came with embarking on this adventure solo.
Without giving away any spoilers, we followed the story of Lewis Carroll’s relationship with Alice, with appearances from notorious characters from the novels such as the Queen of Hearts, White Rabbit, and Mad Hatter. I personally helped paint the white roses red, brewed tea, played a game of chess, ate truffles, and laid in a hospital bed alongside a stranger.
With every step I became “curiouser and curiouser,” and the 90-minute experience flew by. I passed through dozens of carefully curated rooms that contained clues to the shrouded history of Alice’s existence. The actors were dynamic and passionate, and engaged us with complex choreography and monologues.
After the show wrapped, Andrew and I compared notes and had completely different experiences. I was buzzing with energy and couldn’t stop talking about this performance.
I’d definitely recommend Then She Fell to anyone seeking a unique theater experience; it is a multi-sensory program that could only be found in New York. And, anyhow, it will probably be more fun than the last time you were in a mental hospital in Bushwick.
Then She Fell
Now Playing through June 29, 2014
The Kingsland Ward at St. Johns
195 Maujer St.
Brooklyn, NY 11206
All images courtesy of Then She Fell.