BWW Reviews: Secret Theatre's DIE: ROLL TO PROCEED
DIE: Roll to Proceed opened this week as a part of the WiredArts Fest. Taking place at the Secret Theatre in Queens, WiredArts Fest gives artists, producers and writers access to a global audience. The WiredArts Fest is a live-streamed performing arts festival where the audience is global, seating is unlimited and online viewers can participate in live chat discussions, interact through Twitter and Facebook, while the performance is happening.
DIE: Roll to Proceed has shows Saturday 2/23 at 9:15pm, Tues. 2/26 at 7pm, Wed. 2/27 at 9:15pm and Sat. 3/2 at 7pm. Produced by Christian De Gré and Ariana Paganetti with Executive Producers Daniel Szczuka and Jason Friedman Mendez and Associate Producers Mikol Dise and Adrian Corral, this is the team that brought us "Story Time with Mr. Buttermen" during last year's Fringe. Reviewing that for Broadwayworld, I was pretty excited to see what team was going to bring us with DIE.
The evening began with a short piece by the Mari Meade Dance Collective in collaboration with Dana Salisbury. Unrelated to DIE, this was present an excerpt of What We Were Handed. The full-length version is both "seen" and "unseen" with sections designed for blindfolded audiences. What We Were Handed is based on Australian Indigenous creation myths, called "songlines" or "dreaming tracks"--paths across the land marking the routes taken by creator-beings who wandered the continent in "dreamtime." To this day, individuals are entrusted with re-walking and re-singing each family's path to keep it alive.
After about a ten minute intermission, DIE began. Written by Joe Kurtz and presented by Mind The Art Entertainment in association with Rising Art A.C., DIE takes audience interaction to a whole new level. In this existential comedy, the main character George decides to revoke his own right to choose the paths his life will take. He stumbles upon a solution to avoid the customary human requirement of making hard and potentially life-changing decisions: a six-sided die. This is where the audience comes in.
At pivotal moments in the play, the audience is called upon to break the fourth wall. They roll the die on George's behalf. Each number on the die determines a specific path the show can take. After an audience member rolls, the show goes in that direction.
With the multitude of die rolls that occur throughout the show, there are 240 different versions of the play. Every version is fully staged & scripted. Directed and featuring original music by Christian De Gré, this production did not disappoint. Christian De Gre' comes through again with strong satirical comedy.
The cast is impressive. Ready at a moments notice to follow the whim of the die, they deliverEd Strong pointed performances regardless of what they were handed. Besides, who wouldn't love the "Poop Guy"? The show stars Joe Kurtz, Justin Anselmi, Robb Moreira, David Williams, R. Patrick Alberty and Mara Lileas.
If I could find something I disliked, it was the live-stream of the performance. I watched it online to see what the experience was like. Yes, I get the theory of uniting a world audience in a theatrical experience. However, there was nothing theatrical about watching a live stream.
In both pieces (What We Were Handed as well as DIE: Roll to Proceed), I felt like I was watching a low-budget camera shoot. Sound was compromised. Actors kept coming out of the frame. It made staging impossible to experience.
I missed out on a lot. The beautiful encompassing experience of being enveloped by live theatre was gone. I felt like I was watching You Tube. I love the idea of uniting a theatrical community; however, this was not the way to go about it.
Definitely check out DIE: Roll to Proceed. However, check it out live. Tickets are available at http://virtualarts.tv