Immersive theater installation ‘Memento: Mori: Triptych’ evokes memory, mortality

Created by collective of 14 theater artists, interactive performance experience premieres at Muhlenberg College, May 14-16

By: Clarissa Shirley ’22  Wednesday, May 12, 2021 10:22 AM

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This season’s Mnemonic Theatre Festival at Muhlenberg concludes with an entirely different sort of performance — a show with an audience of one.

“Memento: Mori: Triptych” introduces an immersive theatrical space, entered in solitude, in which the visitor is the actor as well as the audience. Serving as a reflection on memory and mortality, the piece has been curated by a creative team of 14 theatre-makers, who have been tight-lipped about the elements of the experience, in order to preserve the magic for the actual performance.

“We want everything to be a surprise, so that the reactions to the piece can be honest and authentic,” says Rebecca Lustig, a Muhlenberg Theatre & Dance faculty member, who describes her role in the process as the “connective tissue” of the company. “Everyone will have the chance to interact with the space without having any preconceived notions.”

Amongst the mysteries, here’s what we do know: audience members should arrive with a smartphone and headphones. They will scan a QR code for a link to an audio file, which they can listen to as they move through the space. The experience takes about 20 minutes.

“They may be asked to interact with the space,” Lustig says. “The solitary audience member will move through three fragments, listening on their phone to a soundscape that we created to accompany their journey,” 

“Memento: Mori: Triptych” is available May 14-16, to all members of the Muhlenberg community who are cleared for on-campus activities. The performance is open 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. Reservations are required on Friday and Saturday, 5-8 p.m. 

Jessie Kuehne, a senior theater major at Muhlenberg College, and a member of the company, advises participants to take their time as they move through the space. 

“I think this is a moment where we can practice patience as we reflect and absorb our surroundings,” Kuehne says. “We have the opportunities to challenge our bodies and minds to take 20 minutes to just breathe.”

“Memento: Mori: Triptych” runs Friday through Sunday, May 14-16. Hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily; reservations are required Friday and Saturday after 5 p.m. Admission is free. Patrons can reserve a timeslot and get more information at muhlenberg.edu/seeashow.

 

About the Muhlenberg College Theatre & Dance Department
Muhlenberg offers Bachelor of Arts degrees in theater and dance. The Princeton Review ranked Muhlenberg’s theater program in the top twelve in the nation for eight years in a row, and Fiske Guide to Colleges lists both the theater and dance programs among the top small college programs in the United States. Muhlenberg is one of only eight colleges to be listed in Fiske for both theater and dance.

About Muhlenberg College
Founded in 1848, Muhlenberg is a highly selective, private, four-year residential, liberal arts college offering baccalaureate and graduate programs. With an enrollment of approximately 2,200 students, Muhlenberg College is dedicated to shaping creative, compassionate, collaborative leaders through rigorous academic programs in the arts, humanities, natural sciences and social sciences; selected preprofessional programs, including accounting, business, education and public health; and progressive workforce-focused post-baccalaureate certificates and master’s degrees. Located in Allentown, Pennsylvania, approximately 90 miles west of New York City, Muhlenberg is a member of the Centennial Conference, competing in 22 varsity sports. Muhlenberg is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.