Live In Theater is pretty fresh to the theatrical scene in New York City, but the idea is surely unconventional. Since 2009, Live In Theater has been producing interactive plays by taking award-winning acting to the streets to provide realistic drama from audience members who act as actors. As cast members, you can expect to investigate historical murders on the city streets by way of communicating with suspects and witnesses in the community. In the play, actors embark on an investigation, acquire evidence, correspond with suspects, and ultimately make an arrest.
I got a chance to talk with the Live In Theater Creative Director Carlo D'Amore about the theater company and what it brings to the New York City scene.
Nice to meet you Carlo
Good to meet you too.
Where are you from?
I’m originally from Peru. I’m South American: Italian father, Peruvian mother, therefore I’m an immigrant. (Chuckles)
What inspired the idea of Live In Theater?
The name of the company is Live InTheater, and we focus on interactive experiences where we place the idea around our focus, so the actual audience is living inside of it. It’s happening all around them. Not only is it happening around them, they’re actually playing a key role.
So the audience is a part of the drama?
Yeah, they just don’t travel through it, they play a role. Right now, we have murder series mysteries based off of real cases in New York City’s history. We basically play detectives trying to solve a murder; it’s kind of reminiscent of Law and Order, where we play character to character to character. We provide tools that are seen as material objects, like evidence, to help solve issues and bolster the investigator experience.
When did you recognize there was a market for this kind of drama, and why did you choose the Lower East Side as a location?
I choose the Lower East Side because I live here. I know the neighborhood really well. It also makes it very convenient. For me, one aspect is definitely the convenience level, but also I have been living in the neighborhood for about fifteen years...some pros and some cons. I believe that the city is losing its character in a sense, so the shows bring a glimpse into what New York used to be like in the 1970’s or the 1870’s with a limited budget.
How long have you been in the industry and long did it take you to get to the position you're at now?
I started out as an actor when I was 20, so I would say I have been in this field for about 26 years. It takes a great deal of work to get to where I am at, so I emphasize hard work. No matter what your position is in the industry, you have to stay working.
How would you describe working at Live In Theater?
Waking up at 5am and getting sucked into the vortex of the computer, but that’s a typical day. We have rehearsal and casting days where it’s a completely different experience. Usually, I’m getting sucked into the vortex of the computers, answering emails, making phone calls, and things along those lines.
What advice would you give to younger people who want to be actors or are working in the industry in general?
I hate to quote Nike, but just do it. Just start doing something. Some people are not going to understand your mind as a creative person. This may be very detrimental, but nonetheless do it.
Great, thanks for your time Carlo.
Live In Theater is located at 91 Orchard Street New York, NY 10002