"Does It Hurt When I Do This?" is a new immersive theater piece based on the professional use of standardized patients. Standardized patients are people, often times actors, who are employed at medical schools to impersonate patients suffering from a variety of ailments. These mock sick people perform their illness for medical students, so the future doctors can test their diagnostic acumen and their bedside manner.
This practice, a widespread real world use of performance, is the jumping off point for Woodshed's new piece, which we will present in a FIRST LOOK showing this November. Audience members will sign up for appointments to play doctor. Armed with a headset feeding them medical information and instructions, they will have the opportunity to interact with actors performing the role of patient, diagnose their illness and empathize with their conditions.
Aside from the appeal of letting our audience immerse themselves into an imagined set of circumstances, we are really interested in the mechanics and nature of empathy: how we come to feel and understand what another person is experiencing. Empathy is a seemingly impossible feat that we unconsciously attempt over and over - with varying degrees of success and failure. The process of diagnosis is one of the more concentrated scenario's to test and examine this phenomenon.
This is truly a theatrical experiment, both in form and function and we invite you to join us on the first leg our development of this boundary pushing new show.
Risks and challenges
There is no blueprint for this kind of show. The unique demands of this intimate performance, eapecially since it relies on audio technology, come with a whole set of creative risks and artistic faith. Beyond getting our audiences to engage in this interactive show, we need to make sure all the technical mechanics in the show work well.
Woodshed has tackled large, ambitious projects in the past. We have successfully produced shows that have taken place on boats, throughout multiple story buildings, and accross multiple square miles of the city. Although this show presents unique challenges, it's nothing we can't handle.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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