Opening to an intimate audience of 9 people on its opening night, The Kanziss Trials kicked off at the Grand Chancellor Hotel. A prime form of interactive theatre, it was a show that presented with great potential and offered audiences with the opportunity to immerse themselves into the play to the fullest.
While the initial set up of the show was to include a group of participants and another group of observers from the audience (you can select this upon arrival at the show), given the small turn up of people, we were all encouraged to participate in the show. It wasn't as intimidating as it sounds, because while my levels of anxiety were through the roof throughout the show, I went from not wanting to participate to being one of the last ones standing and not wanting to get booted towards the end (which, as it turns out, was the case)!
Based loosely on the Wizard of Oz, the basic premise of the show is that there is a father and a daughter, who are on a mission to bring to justice the perpetrator that took away their son and brother respectively. Throughout the show, we, as participants, were requested to follow simple directions, complete tasks, and make choices that determine our progress (and eventually, our fate) through the trial. You are often paired up or grouped together with other 'participants' and there are decisions that you'll need to make individually and as a group. Every single action you make will have a consequence. Each character guides you through your decision-making process, but they also provide you with vital information to make that decision.
Interactive theatre is something that I haven't been exposed to much, but I believe that The Kanziss Trials was a fantastic introduction to what people can expect from this style of performing arts. Not one huge into drama, I was surprised to see how much I was loving the flow of the show. The dialogue was minimal but provided with enough information to feel immersed in the story of how the death of the son / brother impacted each character. There was a level of compassion, complemented with strong feelings of passion, anger, sombreness, and consequentially, a resolution that is realised, as the show goes on. You cannot help but feel their angst and grief, as their stories ripple you senseless and give you a snippet of the anguish they experience. While it would have been beneficial to be given a bit more context to get the full experience, The Kanziss Trials has taken a great step towards giving life to drama and theatre and adding a unique twist of giving audiences the option to get involved in it themselves.
The Kanziss Trials is up for a short and sweet run this year, but it has lots of potential to grow into something even bigger and more in-depth in the future.