Next Level 2

Next Level, 1st & 2nd September 2017

Next Level is theatre as reimagined by the millennial generation. The third full-length multimedia production by America’s Voyeur Theatre Collective, like those before it, combines aspects of rave culture, cinema, performance art, screen and image-based storytelling, to resonate with the lives of young people who might otherwise find theatre a bore. 
 
The show stems from the idea that navigating a party is like playing a game, especially for people who have more interaction with others through screens that face-to-face most of the time. So it immerses the audience into the world of an role-playing game, a dystopian college party. Actors you encounter are simulated guests of the party, whose entire reality is constructed within the game’s coding. Some characters are aware of their rendered existences while others are ignorant to their origin, sending these avatars into existential crisis.
 

Every aspect of the show is completely original, from the 30-track score and live DJ performances to projected videos, dialogue and choreography. It explores how screen culture  consciously and subconsciously dominates human experience. The characters question the legitimacy and meaning behind their mediated existences, experiencing simultaneous feelings of loneliness and euphoria through addiction to screens. The piece investigates the question of what it means to find escape in a world where the claustrophobia of overstimulation has consumed our daily lives

Voyeur Theatre Collective Art was founded two years ago by Northwestern students Russell Kahn and Isabella Mehiel, and since then it has seen huge growth. They fear that theatre can be thrilling, but “theatre is dying, and millennials don’t seem to give a shit.”  They innovate constantly, and use multiple screens, consistent soundscape, live performers, and moving set pieces, because they believe millennials engage more deeply with content when they are able to consume it through multiple coherent channels. The sound and video, set design and lights are expensive, and needing money to keep ticket prices low enough to entice young people who might not otherwise have access, crowd fund their productions on indiegogo.

 In this unusual show, the audience follows the avatars through a site-specific performance experience diving into the millennial need for artistic and emotional fulfillment, and watch the explosive disturbances that are created when others interfere with the narratives we set.
 

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