Infinite Variety Productions and Wildrence To Celebrate International Women's Day With Benefit Performances
Infinite Variety Productions, a theater company dedicated to spotlighting women who have gone unnoticed in history, and Wildrence, an immersive design studio and New York's dynamic storytelling space, will recognize International Women's Day on March 8 with two special performances of the immersive non-fiction production of Nellie and the Women of Blackwell. With ticket sales to benefit the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Women's Mental Health Shelter, this project is the first of a series of fully immersive, guided theatre experiences that focuses on women's history, health and prominent women's issues. Additionally, this world premiere breaks the barrier between history and present day and provides a space for the lives and words of the Blackwell Asylum's lost women to live on in a purposeful way, while providing support and awareness of those that continue to suffer today.
Based on Ten Days in the Mad house, the exposé that shocked the world, Nellie and the Women of Blackwell follows 23-year-old journalist Elizabeth Cochran, penned Nellie Bly, undercover into one of New York City's most notorious "insane asylums" in 1887. From unlawful overcrowding, and unsanitary living conditions to harsh and brutal treatments that caused tremendous mental and physical harm to patients, many women were beaten and sexually assaulted by vicious and tyrannical staffers. Following Bly through her investigative research, she discovered that many of the inmates she shared her close quarters with were not insane at all, but immigrants unable to communicate, or those that simply fell through the cracks of a society that didn't consider mental health a priority. While audiences walk in the shoes of Bly, inmates interact individually with each guest, divulging secrets, observations and sharing experience with a meaningful script that gives the women of the Blackwell Asylum a chance to have their voices heard more than a century later. In the spirit of immersive theater, each ticket holder will have a fully unique experience, perspective, and relationship with the women of Blackwell.
"We are proud to partner with the Lenox Hill Neighborhood House Women's Mental Health Shelter in honor of International Women's Day, as they are an important organization in our city that provides a 24-hour program for homeless women living with severe and persistent mental illness," explains Ashley Adelman, founder of Infinite Variety Productions. "While this play is based on history and based on a true story, what the play is really about is human connection through generations, mental health, compassion and issues still relevant today in 2020."
During each performance, sixteen audience members will intimately follow Bly on her assignment, armed with a safe word in the event the experience proves too intense. All patrons are encouraged to explore the space, either on their own or in groups, and ask the inmates questions to help further Nellie's quest. Through audience participation and interaction, theatergoers will gain a better understanding of women's lives in this period of history.
Benefit performances of Nellie and the Women of Blackwell will be performed on March 8, 2020 at both 3:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.
Regularly scheduled performances continue to run through March 7 every Thursday at 7:00 p.m., and Friday and Saturday at both 7:00 p.m. and 9:00 p.m.
General admission tickets are $68, and are available online at https://www.wildrence.com/events/nellie-and-the-women-of-blackwell