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Found Stages Celebrates Women in STEM Through THE SHIFT

The Shift imagines the United States after droughts caused by climate change have dried up water sources and depleted reservoirs.

Found Stages Celebrates Women in STEM Through THE SHIFT

Found Stages is taking its immersive and site-specific style of theater to the digital realm. Written and designed specifically for Zoom and the 2021 Atlanta Science Festival, The Shift is a full-scale production that gives audience members an integral and interactive role to play in this post-apocalyptic story in which natural resources, including water, are scarce.

From March 13-27, audiences will help three female engineers of the rebellion solve tasks essential to their mission-infiltrating a corrupt bottling company to reroute water to their community on the brink of collapse. The Shift imagines the United States after droughts caused by climate change have dried up water sources and depleted reservoirs.

"Not only is this show a great awareness piece about being eco-friendly, but it's an interactive virtual show mixed with an 'Escape the Room' environment," says actor Michelle Pokopac, who portrays the character Astrid, a hydraulic engineer.

The show's three female main characters (Astrid, Bronson and Charly) play zoom-versions of action/adventure-movie heroes from the STEM fields of civil, hydraulic and software engineering.

"The project gives me a Hunger Games meets Charlie's Angels feel and who doesn't love one, if not both, of those things?" says actor T.J. Ruth, who portrays the play's fourth character, Wyatt, a covert operative for the rebellion. "I think my character is really cool, but I believe a lot of the focus is on the three strong women characters."

In order for the women to succeed at their mission, they require help from audience members, who will split into teams to complete interactive tasks created by regional escape room designer R. Andrew Puckett. The production also utilizes lighting and sound effects, as well as custom designed virtual backgrounds by Jennifer Schottstaedt (Costume Designer, Frankenstein's Funeral), who also designed the costumes and props.

"The Shift is not a play adapted for zoom; it is a play written for zoom," asserts Found Stages Co-Founder Neeley Gossett, who is one of the show's writers. "This play can only be done virtually, and it relies on the audience working together to solve puzzles, like an escape room. It is completely different from any other zoom play you've seen."

The Shift runs March 13-27 via Zoom as part of the 2021 Atlanta Science Festival.

Tickets are $20 per household (Atlanta Science Festival patrons can use discount code ASF2021 for $10 tickets) and are available online at www.foundstages.org/theshift


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