CMU School of Drama

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Could Immersive Theater be Merging with With Theme Parks in Disney's Star Wars Land

Theme Park University: I’ve been waiting for this moment for a long time and I think we are on the cusp of it finally happening. Immersive theater, which I believe is the most exciting form of entertainment out there today, may finally have some elements mixed in with Disney’s new Star Wars Land when it opens in 2019. I’ve got a couple of sources to back this up, but let’s start with a video that was released during Star Wars Celebration 2017 in Orlando.


Simone Schneeberg said...

I think this would be so cool if this is the direction the Star Wars Land is actually going. One thing I absolutely love about theater is the way it sucks you into it's story. Immersive theater does this not only with the actors and the scenery and so forth, but by literally bringing you into the story. However, with shows like Sleep No More, you know you are seeing a show, you know you are in a performance. I think Star Wars Land has the potential to go beyond that and truly push the boundaries of immersive performance. It is not stuck to a timed period where people cycle in and out according to times on a ticket (at least I assume so given the nature of theme parks), people will be able to roam around and come and go at their own pace so the actors don't have to move a plot line along for their audience to see. The actors can build a longer story line or even a whole life and play it out as they see fit and change it as it goes in such an organic way that I feel will really do wonders for bringing the visitors truly into the story.

Rebecca Meckler said...

I think the idea that the difference between immersive theater and theme parks are the people living in the world is fascinating. Employees don’t fill the role because they still exist in the real world and though there are costumed characters, they don’t fill the world. However, filling the amusement parks with costumed actors would be expensive and I’m not convinced that robots would fill the role. Though I do think that robots that people could interact with would be really cool, I’m not sure it would make the world feel more real in the same way the extras would. On another note, I think it's very interesting how two people can interpret the same information. The provided drawing, looks very similar to the drawing in a previous green page article where they interpreted the drawing to be a robotic Baymax. I’m interesting to see if one or both of these writers are correct about the intended use of the robots described in the patent.

Mark Ivachtchenko said...

Disney never fails to impress with the pushes their doing in combining the theater world with their theme parks. A similar thing was done at Disney Shanghai that I was reminded of with this article. The folks at Disney built a genuine pirate ship from the ground up that's FILLED with props, little stories, and a "treasure hunt" of sorts that you can embark on while inside. Now, I'm sure they'll drag in an even larger audiences with immersive theater like this with a combination of Star Wars. I know there are dozens of people like me who want to enter a world where the droids and environments seen in the movies are there in front of you, reacting to you; the fact that your choices have consequences on the story makes it even more exciting and only pulls you in further. This is definitely an awesome option to consider if you want to go into theme park focused work and I can see it working really well with an education in theater.