A story of un-natural selection. A story of extinction. A production shrouded in mystery.
Little has been revealed about Bricolage Production Company’s latest immersive, sensory-based theater experience, DODO. Created in collaboration with the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh as part of its Carnegie Nexus initiative, no two experiences are alike.
DODO will take audience members on a personal journey throughout areas of the museum not typically open to the general public, allowing interactions with their surroundings to guide their experience.
“It’s not putting the participant on the spot,” said Jeffrey Carpenter, creative director and co-creator of DODO. “It’s offering a place for their response, and that response can affect their journey.”
The immersive production will examine humanity’s impact on the world and will draw connections between art, science, and society. The adventure will also explore the relationship between humans and the museum, to the physical building and its history and to the artifacts and artworks inside it.
All information and stories related to any of the museums’ collections incorporated in the adventure are authentic.
The line between reality and fiction will be blurred and audience members may be unsure whether they are interacting with each other or actors and actresses.
DODO will play to the senses, using ambisonic audio technology, a technology being developed for virtual reality, and light effects. Sensorial lighting techniques will be used in such a predominant way, light will almost act as a character.
Carpenter and the rest of the creative team behind DODO — Gab Cody, Tami Dixon and Sam Turich — spent two years on what they refer to as a listening tour at the Carnegie Museums. During that time, the team explored the physical nature of the museums and interviewed countless individuals connected to the museum experience, from security guards and cafeteria workers to curators, conservators, and directors.
“I think what we discovered right away, is that there’s a natural tension between the role that the museum plays as keeper and collector and protector of these very important specimens and artifacts and giving access to the general public,” Carpenter said.
The collaborative process allowed them to gather insight into the magic behind the museum and develop a production that aims to prompt conversations about man’s impact on the Earth.
“It sort of feels like you can’t talk about anything else,” Dixon said. “With this project, and choosing the work with the museums, we don’t think there was anything else we could be talking about, relevantly or responsibly, if we didn’t talk about this age that we’re in right now.”
It has led them to their most ambitious immersive experience to date — DODO.
“I think it’s [DODO] been crafted in a very masterly way so that a whole group of experiences that people have as they travel through our two museums will build to a very moving climax,” Maureen Rolla, Director of Strategic Initiatives at the Carnegie Museums of Pittsburgh said. “I think people are going to have fun. I think they’re going to be really surprised. They’re going to see a lot of beautiful things in really crazy spaces.”
DODO takes place at the Carnegie Museums of Art and Natural History in Oakland and runs October 13 through November 19, Wednesday through Sunday evenings with a few exceptions. In order to create a more personalized experience, each performance time slot accommodates only 6 patrons at a time. Tickets are $60 and can be purchased at www.BricolagePGH.org.
Since 1760, they’ve operated in secret, preparing the way. Once considered legend, they’ve been steadily growing in number and influence. Their existence, in direct response to a pressing need expressed by the natural world, is one of the most significant and far-reaching stories in America: a story of un-natural selection. A story of extinction. The actions of humanity have set into motion events that will outlive our species. It must now be determined what will endure. Do you know how you got here? Do you know where you’re going? Our past is a memory, our future is certain. DODO: the time has come.