The Malthouse’s ‘Because The Night’ Immersion Experience Could Be Theatre's Future -
Because the Night at the Malthouse Theatre

The Malthouse’s ‘Because The Night’ Immersion Experience Could Be Theatre’s Future

by Bronwyn Robinson on April 17, 2021

in News

Its 2021 and we are back at the theatre … but its different. ‘Because The Night’ has jumped forward in time with a production that immerses the audience into the story. The ‘choose your own adventure’ aspect of the performance makes it something you may want to see again, just to see an alternative perspective.

‘Because The Night’ has a cast of six but everyone in the audience is also part of the performance. Before the show starts you are presented with a mask and donned a cloak. You are right in there with the actual characters in the show but the main actors disregard the proximity of the audience. This is called immersive theatre. You don’t speak, you don’t act and you won’t change the plot. You are witnessing the show from the perspective of the actors. Its also special in that only 60 people make up the audience.

The audience is divided into three groups and each group has a different perspective of the story. ‘Because the Night’ is kind of Hamlet, well this one has a Claudia instead of a Claudius, but Polonius and Gertrude still maintain the Shakespeare originality. However the six characters are projecting six stories simultaneously.

The show isn’t a one-stage production either. Throughout the show you are wandering around the Malthouse Theatre into various rooms and even at one stage the carpark. A door will open and you and the production is suddenly in another room.

Regular Australian theatre goers used to the traditional ‘sit and watch from a distance’ performance will be astounded by the interaction of ‘Because The Night’. In some ways it is 3D Theatre, in that you are in the show, not out there in the crowd. This approach could signal a reinvention of Australian theatre if more producers choose this interactive way of including their audience.

Even in writing this review, this approach is different. Normally I am examining a production from the ‘fly on the wall’ audience perspective, where sets, lighting, dialogue and acting is magnified. With ‘Because The Night’, being part of the show makes it about the personal experience, much like a ride in an amusement park.

Having seen the show, I also haven’t really seen the show. I have only watched from my perspective of the show. Another night, another door and it would be a different experience, however with the same outcome.

Because The Night is on until 27 June at the Malthouse Theatre, Melbourne

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