Creating Worlds: How to Make Immersive Theatre by Jason Warren
  Book Reviews    January 12, 2018     Eric Larkin


Even if you have a legit background in theater, making an immersive show is a daunting task. It’s more than an art form, it’s a collection of art forms -a gesamtkunstwerk (yep, I spelled it correctly, but only because I looked it up). It potentially draws on not only the traditional arts, but on video games, theme parks, Choose-Your-Own-Adventure books, puzzles, forms of therapy – I mean… you can put pretty much anything in there, if it suits your purposes. Immersive theater is near kin with escape rooms, haunted mazes, and murder mystery dinner theater. The possibilities are overwhelming. You’ve got yourself a blank canvas and a palette with everything in the g-d world  on it. Whatever you create, your audience will not be standing behind a velvet rope or sitting out beyond the proscenium. Those mofos are gonna touch it and breathe on it and sit on it. Good lord.

Luckily, it’s not only an art, but it’s also a craft. Creating Worlds presents the craft, giving you a starting place for sorting through the near infinite possibilities. Sure, you should break the rules (Warren flat-out says so in this book), but you have to master them before you can know when and how to break them and to what effect. There are chapters on how to use your space, how to rehearse, and even how to extend the show through avenues like social media. Most importantly, there is a section on the psychology(?)/magick(?) of working with that most feral of beasts: the audience.

Another really useful element of Creating Worlds is the introduction of terminology specific to immersive work. When you and your gang absorb these terms, you’ll be able to talk about the various aspects of the production without constantly having to explain or define certain abstract ideas, because now you’ve got words for them. This is something we maybe take for granted in other media, since we inherit terminology that was hashed out ages ago.

Tired of hearing how important story is? No fucking duh, right? Tell me how. This book is all about the nitty gritty, the practical, the technique, the craft. This is not an introduction to theatre, but a very practical how-to for a specific kind of theatre. It’s not comprehensive, but It has more than enough to be indispensable.


Creating Worlds by Jason Warren – book cover


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