POST: The Human Symphony. Want to play on stage?


WHAT I KNOW ABOUT THE HUMAN SYMPHONY PRIOR TO EXPERIENCING IT

  • It comes from the New York Neo-Futurists which is cool because I saw another production of theirs years ago called MUTE that I LOVED.
  • It is playing at the New Ohio Theatre.
    • I have seen so many shows there that I actually know how to get there without stopping and asking for directions!
  • The story is made up of first hand accounts of internet dating in New York City.
    • That's bound to be hilarious.
  • There are no professional actors, just randomly selected volunteers from the audience that are given instructions via a voice recording.
    • I intend on being one of those volunteers! 
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FIRST IMPRESSIONS UPON ARRIVING AT THE THEATRE

  • The lady at the box office asks me if I am interested in participating in the show and I practically scream YES at her.
    •  She gives me a smile and a blue wristband!
  • Water! Need...water...now. You know those days when you actually manage to eat properly, but somehow forget to drink anything? I am having one of those days, so after securing my place as a potential performer, I waste no time in getting myself a water bottle.
    • My thirst quenched, I then enter the theatre refreshed and determined. 

AFTER I TAKE MY SEAT

  • Those wearing a blue wristband are asked to raise their hands and keep them raised.
  • 5 of the 6 volunteers are selected and at this point I'm terrified that I won't be picked.
  • At the last minute... I'm chosen to be the 6th volunteer and it's like I've won a free trip to Europe!

ONCE I JOIN THE STAGE WITH THE REST OF THE PERFORMERS

      (Side note: Eeeeeeeek!)

  • I do a quick inventory of the people on stage: 4 guys (3 college aged, 1 older) and 1 other girl besides me.
    • It occurs to me that I am one of the cast members in this show and I inwardly freak out! I had arrived to the theatre moments ago, ticket in hand like everybody else, and now I am standing on stage, 1 of 5 people responsible for entertaining an entire audience. How often does that happen?!
  • There are 6 metal chairs numbered 1 through 6 that are lined up least to greatest facing the audience.
    • I am told to stand in front of the chair that corresponds to my number.
  •  I watch wide eyed as everyone, myself included, is fitted with noise-canceling headphones that are connected to multi-colored iPod Shuffles.
    • This is where the fun begins. 

THE HUMAN SYMPHONY AS EXPERIENCED BY VOLUNTEER #6 (Moi)

  • I hear a voice tell me to please sit down and I do. 
    • As I take my seat, I notice that all of the other people on stage have sat down at the exact same time as me. We all laugh, audience members and performers alike.
  • Twice in a row all volunteers are told to rise and be seated seemingly in unison. Then we are told to look to the left and right, and finally to take several deep, calming breaths. 
    • The audience responds VERY strongly to this, which makes me chuckle. 
  • The voice instructs me to walk to the sound table and sit down in front of it. 
    • For the remainder of the show,  I am given cues to play 43 different sound tracks on an iTunes playlist which is The Human Symphony's entire soundtrack. In addition to this, I am called onto the stage on 4 separate and incredibly memorable occasions. 
  • Given the fact that my primary job is running the sound table, I am in the very interesting position of being both a performer and an audience member.
    • When I'm not being fed cues through my headphones, I am encouraged to take in as much of the action on stage as possible. And that's fine by me!
  • There are near constant dating narratives (Think of the When Harry Met Sally love stories, but more modernized) playing over the speakers. The performers on stage act out these dating narratives while I control the music.
    • Whenever the dating narrative mentions anyone having sex, the performers on stage are comically instructed to bounce up and down.
  • The voice recording isn't entirely monotone and serious like you'd expect, but continually makes jokes and reminds me to relax throughout the show.
  • During one of the times I am invited on stage, I am instructed to dance and the whole time I am up there, the voice recording cheers me on, telling me things like "Work it!" and "You are awesome!" and "You are jamming in a 90s club!"
  • After my bow and my fellow performers and my standing ovation, I am finally asked to remove my headphones and return the iPod that I have relied on for all of the show. 
  • One of the staff members asks all of us performers to write down our information so they can send us a comp ticket and we can see the show again (but actually watch it).
    • This is when it dawns on me that I haven't gotten all of the show's context that the audience was privy to.
      • It is later called to my attention that I was the "headlights" for a car in one of the dating narratives and I am caught off guard.
        • I remember kneeling before two of my fellow performers who were seated in chairs, holding lit flashlights at my shoulders and bouncing up and down from that position. I hadn't the slightest idea what my actions were simulating at the time!

MY THOUGHTS AFTER THE SHOW

  • What I take away from The Human Symphony more than anything else as I exit the theatre is how simultaneously clever and daring it is. 
    • The show is INSANELY smart. However, in order for its cleverness to be realized, so much has to go perfectly.
  • Every detail of The Human Symphony is so meticulously planned out, and yet ALL of the control is given to random volunteers. I have never experienced theatre that puts so much trust into its audience.
    • But The Human Symphony's audience and its performers are one and the same. Without that trust, there's nothing. And with it, there's pure gold. 

 

$15 STUDENT TICKETS

THE HUMAN SYMPHONY 
@ New Ohio Theatre
thru Feb. 14th