The world of immersive theater typically comes in one of two forms, both of which rarely get based around music. For the world to work, those in attendance must allow themselves to be immersed in the world created in the show. When most people go see a concert, they’re in a room of like-minded individuals who all came to see the same act perform. However, with the Dinolion produced show Lionshare, audience members more than likely have never heard of the artists Merel & Tony, of which the show is based around. So when you see people immersing themselves into a world they’re not familiar with, its worth noting that it’s a reflection of who we are at our core in each showing.
Faith, hope and good will all come into play here. The best parts of who we are as a society come through from these performances through the crowds who attend as well as the performers in the story. The show, taking place in a large space with multiple performers lays out a narrative that you’d find difficult to follow, if you weren’t allowing the tale to take over. On both nights that we attended, we caught audience members letting go, exercising faith and becoming part of the fabric of the shows.
To be fair, there’s multiple story lines being acted out with multiple ties that bond together at the end. Some aspects would normally get spoon-fed to a typical audience member, but with these types of shows, you choose your own path. Doing so, allows you to decide what you will and will not experience. There’s no dull points to Lionshare. There’s a musicality to the story, there’s actual music being performed from beginning to end and there’s more than enough dialogue and action coming from all points. Seeing audiences choose to allow themselves to be taken in by the performances was our favorite part. Watching people let go reflects the better parts of our society, while the “action” takes place in front of your eyes, you have to decide whether or not you’ll engage with the story and become part of the world you’re experiencing.
We went to two performances to grasp things better. One show for becoming part of the story and one to watch how the audience reacted to what was happening. What we saw from the show we were audience members of, was a mysterious coupling of worlds and stories that tie together, part of a body that may not feel familiar while the humanity of the characters comes through from their abilities. What we saw from the audiences was full acceptance and faith in those characters. Several audience members and groups of them at times followed characters into other parts of the space and the story. Full attention from the crowd no matter what characters were leading the scenes or how many people were there with them in the moments. Lionshare takes the best parts of who we are as a people. It allows our inner whimsy and inquisitive nature and fuels both with a mixture of compelling stories, intriguing music and developed characters. It lives up to it’s promise of being a concert re-imagined, while hitting the markers needed for immersive theater to work. In a time where attention spans are at a low, Lionshare proves that some things are worth taking the time to engage with.
There are only three more performances of Lionshare and the shows will only be in Houston. Tickets for tonight, tomorrow or Sunday can be purchased here for the all ages performances, and all have doors at 7:10 p.m. with a strict 7:30 p.m. start time.
Image Credits: Photos by Jeromy Barber.