Immersive theater offers the audience whole lot more to look at, think about, and do, which is what makes it such a pleasure to participate in. After the success of Then She Fell over recent years, Third Rail Projects has returned with a new, 70s-themed show called The Grand Paradise. Ushered in with a mock plane ticket, and adorned with a lei, you're part of a group of people visiting a different time and place, where all of your inhibitions are cast aside.
The impressive choreography and the maze of scenery are the real stars of the production. Artistic directors Zach Morris, Tom Pearson and Jennine Willett knew exactly how to transform Brooklyn warehouse space into something mystical and majestic. Each room is strange and sparse, but also beautiful and intimate.
There's little plot to follow -- as you shadow a group of visitors, actors who look like yourself, but who issue knowing stares to the audience and express themselves most with well-rehearsed stoicism. You're occasionally, but not annoyingly, pulled into the dancing sequences, only to then slide right back into the landscape. You never fully believe that this is a throwback to another era, but you can enjoy the act of trying.
You only get to follow one or maybe two storylines going in inside of this warehouse, which leaves you longing to know what else was taking place behind the other closed doors. Only at the beginning and at the end do you spot actors from the cast of 20 or so who didn't show you around, but accompanied some of your peers in a different section for much of the two hours. There's so much going on that you aren't fully aware of, and that is what whets the appetite as much as the sexual escapades you've just witnessed.