Odd Man Out
An At-Home Immersive Theatrical Sensory Box Experience…presented by PITCHBLACK Experiences
by Carl F. Gauze
Travel’s been off the slate most of the last year, and some of us are itching to get back to that yummy airline cuisine. But the bad things come to mind as well: packed airplanes, screaming kids and travelers attempting to fit a Barca-Lounger in the overhead compartment in row 39 F. But then this mysterious box appeared on me from porch, marked “Fragile” in a large, scary letter and the sound of broken glassware. Inside I discover a odd collection of material- blackout eye covers, a cute chocolate bar wrapped in gold foil, a small split of genuine airline wine (a fine 2020 Malbec, if my taste buds still work) a boarding pass with QR code, and a handful of glass shards. USPS and Delta – Same difference. I ditch the glassware, and munch on the chocolate-free Almonds Joy. Well, this far out classes anything else I’ve covered in 20 years at Ink19.
A serviette with a map of the world gives me directions. Set everything out, have a drink, and put on the eye mask while your cell phone reveals this heart-stopping adventure. It’s a QR scan away, and amazingly, the audio starts playing, leading you down the jet way and into Alberto’s story. Born in Argentina and blind, Alberto (Gonzalo Trigueros) became a jazz musician. Argentina tends to have revolutions, and Alberto exiled himself to New York to survive. There he and made a decent living busking in the subway and fearing only the MTA cops, not the Argentinian death squads. Today, things have settled down back home, and Alberto’s decided to see what’s left of his early life. We join him on a flight to Buenos Aires. From time to time we are stopped and asked to open the clues. Nothing scary here, just a chocolate bar, the smell of coffee, the smell of an ocean and a steady jet whine in the background…or am I imagining that? The plot thickens, we learn some of his secrets, meet his old friends, and experience not only travel, but partial sensory deprivation. This item (Kit? Experience? Immersion?) is clever, unexpected, and a totally new way to experience theater, at least to me. Covid may have kept us at home, but here’s a product delivered to your doorstep offering an experience that’s unique and fun. I would just recommend they do a better job of packing the glassware, or maybe stick with coach airline plastic.