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Up next in First Stage’s Virtual Season of Plays is ESCAPE FROM PELIGRO ISLAND – A CREATE YOUR OWN ADVENTURE PLAY, written by award-winning, internationally renowned children’s playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer (THE SNOW, 2015 and ANTARCTICA, WI, 2018). Each performance will be a unique livestream performance where the audience votes at critical times as to the choices protagonist Callaway Brown should make – and the actors will need to respond in the moment and plunge forward. No two performances will be the same.
In this virtual play we find Callaway Brown – an unlikely young hero – who has been stranded on a desert island, and it’s up to the audience to decide what happens next! In this interactive production, audience members vote on Callaway’s actions in an energetic romp through time and space. Will Callaway time travel to the Wild West and meet a talking horse? Develop superpowers and fight crime in the future? Or have a crush on a vampire? This is create-your-own-adventure theatre using your phone – audience members will be voting on the path for the hero. And Callaway’s fate is in their hands! Sponsored by Children’s Wisconsin.
Performances for ESCAPE FROM PELIGRO ISLAND will be livestreamed through Broadway On Demand on January 29 at 7 pm, January 30 at 1 & 3:30 pm, January 31 at 1:00 & 3:30 pm, February 5 at 7 pm and February 6 at 1 & 3:30 pm. If audiences want to check out a specific adventure, they can also choose a recorded episode (with description) – available to stream through February 28, 2021. Tickets are available for $15, $25 or $40. Patrons are encouraged to choose the price point that best fits their family and budget. Ticket buyers will receive an access code to stream this performance through the streaming service Broadway On Demand. Tickets can be purchased online at www.firststage.org or by phone at (414) 267-2961. Performance runtime is approximately 65 minutes. Recommended for families with young people ages 6+.
New this year: Family All-Access Pass Membership includes streaming access to this and all other virtual productions this season and starts at $200 per household. More information is available at: www.firststage.org/membership.
In giving some background on this unique virtual production, Director Jeff Frank had this to say: “A typical First Stage play is 50 pages and this has over 200 because of the create-your-own- adventure component. The play reminds me of the old-time radio/TV serials – Flash Gordon, The Green Hornet, etc. with adventure and cliffhanger moments throughout. We also looked at the world of graphic novels and comic books for inspiration. Through the use of OBS, (Open Broadcast Software), we’ve basically created a living graphic novel – with illustrated backgrounds and animations and the characters appearing and storytelling in frames that we can move all around the screen. It has been quite remarkable to see all of the elements come together.”
He added, “Part of the magic of live theater is the danger of it all. What happens if something goes wrong? In the digital realm, it may feel that some of that magic and danger is gone. Well – that is definitely not the case with this play – the actors will need to be on their toes at all times! With this virtual play audiences will be able to come back and watch repeatedly if they hope to see all of the adventures of the hero. ESCAPE FROM PELIGRO ISLAND is truly inventive, consistently engaging and always funny.”
Playwright Finegan Kruckemeyer shared some insight into his protagonist Callaway Brown: “I like heroes who don’t realize they are a hero, who are often overlooked and it’s thrust upon them. They don’t fit in. They haven’t proven themselves to be great in their own life. But if a big adventure were to befall them, could they prove themselves to be great? I have faith in characters that don’t tell you everything at the start, but then as we go on a journey together with them, we discover more about them. My plays often have both internal and external explorations. One kind of assists the other – if you have somebody who doesn’t think they are worthy of being a hero and then they’re thrown into a situation where they discover they can be and they’re also going on a journey – that’s very exciting to me as a playwright! So inside they are changing and they are becoming braver with every step on the outside. I like protagonists who choose a different path and take the braver option.”