Review: ‘Under(world): The Lost and the Found’ by TBD Immersive

TBD Immersive presents their new adventure, Under(world): The Lost & The Found, in Dupont Circle. The Dupont Underground has been transformed into a series of settings representing the inter-crossings of the world of the living and under(world) of the deceased.

TBD Immersive's 'Under(world) performs through May 12 at Dupont Underground. Photo by Deborah Lash.
TBD Immersive’s ‘Under(world) performs through May 12 at Dupont Underground. Photo by Deborah Lash.

TBD (Tradition Be Damned) productions are not your average live theater experience. Each audience member becomes a part of the story and no two paths are exactly alike. Some productions are more interactive than others and this particular adventure is more like a guided journey.

Jenny Splitter is the Devising Playwright and Story Director, with LaMae Caparas as Choreographer.

At the beginning of the experience, the audience is split in half. Then the TBD cast takes you on one of two paths. There is the group of the living, making their way through the end of life and transitioning into death. The second group, which is the one I was with, starts in the underworld and takes the journey of a soul preparing to be reborn into the land of the living.

Each group has its own guide, who stays with them from beginning to end. Our guide made us aware that our souls had been chosen for a special purpose and that, as we ventured through the Underworld, we were to find and hold one particular memory to carry through to the other side. Everything else would be wiped clean.

This internalizing was the primary focus of Under(world). There wasn’t a lot of action but instead abstract art, pages of books tacked to walls, and ethereal sounds (designed by Rikki Frohmader) to digest and interpret in whatever way comes to mind.

TBD Immersive's 'Under(world) performs through May 12 at Dupont Underground. Photo by Tony Hitchcock.
TBD Immersive’s ‘Under(world) performs through May 12 at Dupont Underground. Photo by Tony Hitchcock.

Halfway through, the two audience groups are briefly reconnected, as they represent their mirrors on the other side. For each soul that is reborn, one of the living is meeting their death. A sheer cloth divides the Underground at this point and the groups’ guides interact as they, too, are copies of the other; a living and deceased version of the same soul.

There is no traditional program to explain the characters you meet. It is entirely up to the audience members to listen, follow, and interact however they feel comfortable. There are certain guidelines and rules to follow that are covered at the beginning of the event, and there are also signals that can be used to express if an audience member doesn’t want to interact.

TBD Immersive’s latest production, Under(world), is best described as an extensive and interactive art installation. The potential for a deep and meaningful experience is tremendous, but the commitment of the audience member is a key factor in how the story plays out. Those unwilling to temporarily surrender their version of reality and delve into the world TBD has created will fail to find meaning and purpose.

For those who chose to explore this dark and unexplored passageway, “The Underworld Awaits.”

Running Time: One hour, with no intermission.

Under(world): The Lost and The Found plays through May 12, 2019, at TBD Immersive, performing at Dupont Underground, 19 Dupont Cir NW, Washington, DC. For tickets, call 866-811-4111 or purchase them online.

Life Track

Lida Benson

Rikki Frohmader

Keenan Gibson

Jasmine Jones

Rachel Messbauer

Gabe Peyton

Nell Quinn-Gibney

Alex Reeves

Annetta Dexter Sawyer

Cate Minichino (u/s)

Death Track

Claire Aniela

Florence Babatunde

Kristen Briscoe

Leo Delgado

Marissa Goodstone

Scott Graham

Nerissa Hart

Matthew Marcus

Natasha Preston

Heather Marie Vitale (u/s)

Creative Team

Producing Artistic Director – Strother Gaines

Devising Playwright & Story Director – Jenny Splitter

Producing Improvisation Director – Dana Malone Heiser

Choreographer – LaMae Caparas

Costume Designer – Deborah Lash

Costume Designer – Colleen Parker

Sound Designer – Rikki Frohmader

Music Remix – Frederik Rubens

Additional Voice Actors

Marshall Bradshaw

Karen Lange

Tony Lopez

Dana Malone Heiser

Cate Minichino

Kristin Zeldes

House Management Team

Ian Bannon

Mela Boyer

Marshall Bradshaw

Tyra Branch

Micah Haddock

Caroline Howe

Jullian Kline

Karen Lange

Tony Lopez

Ashley Nichols

Raechel Patrese

Alex Reeves

Adam Shames

Ariana Tobias

Production Team

Designer – Will Lowry

Technical Director – Justin Hicks of INCITE Colorado

Assistant to the Designer – Peter Adams

Associate Producer – Cate Minichino

Associate Producer – Heather Marie Vitale

Phone Imagineer – Morgan Ward

Intern – Doi Kim

Special Thanks

Charles Elliot

Jeremy Foster

Nicole Isaac

Bonnary Lek

Tony Lopez

Chris Riddle

Adam Shames

Alysa Turner

Dupont Underground

Urbana