If you don't know what a "site-specific immersive production" is, but it sounds intriguing, you might want to get yourself over to the Collar Works in Troy, where the Troy Foundry Theatre is staging a new work called "The Prohibition Project," opening Thursday and running through March 17.
Set in Troy during the Roaring Twenties, "The Prohibition Project" tells the stories of speakeasies and gangsters mixing things up with socialists and politicians, all of whom make life tougher for the average American worker. The work is a creation of Die-Cast, an acting troupe created by Brenna Geffers and Thom Weaver, both of Philadelphia. Geffers is directing the production, which includes Scotia's Alexandra Tarantelli.
"We are passionate about moulding new experiences for our audiences," said Tarantelli, who along with David Girard and Emily Curro founded the Troy Foundry Theatre three years ago. "Through reinventing classics or cultivating original work, we want to explore the social issues of today and give the people something to think about. I think if we are successful in producing work that sparks conversations and gets people interested in the arts, then we are making a positive impact on the community."
Tarantelli, who grew up in Scotia, spent some time in New York City and now lives in Ballston Lake, serves as the group's director of finance operations when she's not onstage.
"I had a career change in New York City a few years ago and am now working as an accountant, which is kind of how I got involved with the company in the first place. David and Emily, who I've known for going on 15 years, needed a finance-minded individual with a penchant for theater to help start the company. Now I'm the director of finance operations for TFT and am fortunate enough to have the chance to be involved in some of the productions in a creative capacity."
Tarantelli said the production put together by Geffers is a unique experience.
"I play a seamstress/textile factory worker and am one of more than 10 characters in this immersive theater experience," said Tarantelli. "Audiences will have a chance to 'choose their own adventure,' to follow characters around as the story unfolds to learn about who these people are, what they want and if they'll be lucky enough to get it."
Tarantelli began acting while at Scotia-Glenville High School and her credits include "Babes in Arms" at the Schenectady Light Opera Company and two New York State Theatre Institute productions while she was attending Russell Sage College in Troy. Before she moved out of the area, she played Mayella Ewell in a production of "To Kill a Mockingbird" at Capital Repertory Theatre, and since her return to the Capital Region she had a role in the Troy Foundry Theatre's debut work, "New World Order," in 2017.
Curro is also in the show along with fellow Russell Sage grad Ethan Botwick and Schenectady native Raya Malcolm, who immersed herself into the theater world back in 2012 at John Sayles School of Fine Arts at Schenectady High School.
"It has been extraordinary to grow with this company of old and new colleagues, exploring and pushing beyond the boundaries of the way theater has been done traditionally," said Malcolm, who has worked with Saratoga Shakespeare, the Puppet Showplace in Boston and ThinkBig Theatre Arts in Patchogue since graduating from Suffolk University in Boston in 2016. "The work is gritty, exciting, and ensemble focused."
According to the Troy Foundry Theatre website, its mission in part is to "explore the social issues of today by collaborating with a variety of artists from multiple disciplines to produce and perform new work and reinterpreted classics through the means of new writing, devising and immersive performances. They aim to produce live theater and performance projects which will utilize extant writing, devised theater, new media and/or original work."
'The Prohibition Project'
WHAT: A performance by the Troy Foundry Theatre
WHERE: Collar Works, 621 River St., Troy
WHEN: Opens Thursday and runs through March 17; performances at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 2 p.m. Sunday
HOW MUCH: $18-$10
MORE INFO: Visit www.troyfoundrytheatre.com