The folks over at Seattle Immersive Theater are no longer nomads! Last week the company singed a lease on the old Silver Platters building which used to be the old Tower Records building in Queen Anne on 5th Ave. N.., where they'll be able to produce their interactive but non-invasive audience participation plays without the fear of small setbacks shutting down entire productions before they even begin their runs.
According to Julia Nardin, media liaison for SIT, working without the constraints of zoning limitations and the stress of having to juggle several shows at once due to lack of a permanent space will be a welcome change for the company.
The new space is about 15,000 square feet, or "1/4 the size of a football field," she's been told. And she's been told correctly: 15,000 / 57,600 = .26 football fields. That's a lot of play space.
Having that much space means that SIT can do almost anything they want. "We’re primarily world builders," Nardin said. "We start with a story and create an environment around it—soundscapes, art installations, elaborate sets." The size of the space will allow the company to build bigger, more immersive worlds than they've built so far. Fingers crossed they make a giant igloo out of the thousands of old jewel cases that are probably piled up all over that place.
Most likely I'll have to wait a while for my dream to come true because the next world they plan to create is a modern day version of Verona's town square. Are there igloos in Verona? Alas, a Google search reveals only a Gelateria Igloo, which appears to house no icy shelters save for the freezers that keep the world's beloved pistachio and hazelnut creams cold. No matter.
Obviously they're building a modern day Verona in anticipation of their new production of Romeo + Juliet, which is scheduled to open on Feb. 18. "I’m so excited. It’s the biggest show we’ve done," Nardin said. "We’re using the party that the Capulets throw as a framing device—there’s going to be bottomless champagne and also hors d'oeuvres," she added later.
SIT is re-imagining not only the set and context of Shakespeare's popular tale of woe, but also the cast. Traditionally, most of the roles in the play are for men, but Nardin told me that nearly half of the cast members for this play are women. The actors who play Romeo and Juliet identify as women, but Romeo, the character, is trans for this production. Plus the nurse won't be a woman but a gay man.