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America Live! Brings Interactive Theatre to Campus

Imagine going to see a performance called “America Live!” You don’t know what to expect, but you’ve heard the show is interactive and you haven’t heard much else. Then suddenly you are directed towards a room where you tell someone your name and phone number and get your picture taken.

This is exactly what happened as I entered the Hartmann Center to check out the show. After taking my seat, I received a text message congratulating me for being chosen for a role and to head back to the lobby.

After coming to terms with my role in the performance, we went backstage where we would be entering the world of “America Live!” and were told we were to live and breathe as our characters. I was given the role of “Avery,” a returning contestant on the game show.

Given very few details about what was going on, I found myself on a stage with cameras in front of me. I was asked by the host, Gloria, played by Hope Grandon, why my character is a proud American.

After some interaction on stage, I was voted off, a relief seeing as some people just aren’t cut out to act, such as myself.

However, until I returned to the lobby, I was still addressed by “security” as well as other cast members as “Avery.”

Once returning to the audience I saw some of the real actors interact on stage with the audience members selected prior to the show. The banter was improv, so the audience members decided what they wanted to say in response to the questions they were asked.

Alyssa Fraelick, a junior accounting major, said she enjoyed being part of the show, despite the general confusion.

“My character was the former co-host and I wasn’t supposed to be there, so they made me hide in a bathroom from security,” she said.

As crazy as it sounded, getting to not only watch the show, but be a part of it was a great experience, really connecting you to all the people involved. If acting is just not your cup of tea, there are other opportunities to participate.

During the game show, the audience voted for who they wanted to win the “issue” at hand via text message.  This was a cool way to allow the audience to determine the outcome on these important American issues, including picking a national food or who was going to be the next co-host.

Aided by Interactive Media students, the ability to connect the audience to the performers helped keep everyone involved and excited for the outcome.

So if you are looking for something different, interesting and funny to watch or be a part of, then you should definitely experience “America Live!”  This experience was unique, but totally worth having.

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