The Wandering, an immersive theatrical experience inspired by the music of Franz Schubert, is set to premiere online and in real life on April 15–May 15. Part visual album, part queer drama, and part communal live experience, The Wandering transports participants into a wondrous environment that unfolds both online and via physical tasks and ephemera shipped directly to audiences. At its heart, The Wandering uses a queer lens to examine the love and pain that divided Schubert while taking guests on a journey that radically reshapes how classical music can be presented. The Wandering is created by newcomers Calista Small and Jeremy Weiss in collaboration with filmmaker Lara Panah-Izadi, designer Charlotte McCurdy, animator Zach Bell, theater artist Christine Shaw, graphic and print designer Irina Wang, web designer TanTan Wang, and executive producer Max Sauberman.
Each of the four episodes that make up The Wandering contains a short film, an interactive object, an online experience, and an opportunity to connect with other audience members. Participants follow “The Wanderer,” an enigmatic character ostensibly based on Schubert that is played by Weiss, a trained opera singer. In the films, original recordings of twelve Schubert songs featuring Weiss and pianist Marika Yasuda are set against a sparse and expansive midwestern landscape with indoor scenes shot on location at the historic Wright in Kankakee home and the 1928 Tivoli Theatre in Downers Grove, IL. Complementing this visual narrative are physical experiences with augmented reality, outdoor excursions, and online interactions.
“The ambiguity of Schubert’s sexuality gave us license to imagine a future where his queerness was seen as wondrous and not strange,” said Weiss. “ We began to ask ourselves, ‘Why is it difficult to find wonder and beauty in what we find different?’ It’s also known that Schubert and his friends performed art songs in their living rooms. So, too, are we inviting audiences to experience his music at home, while also transforming it, and queering it, for our digital reality.”
A limited supply of fully immersive experiences, containing objects and tasks, are currently on sale for $29.99 at https://experiencethewandering.com/. They are scheduled to ship in time for the April 15 opening of The Wandering. Pending availability, packages will remain in-stock through May 15. A digital-only experience is also available for $24.99.
In addition to Weiss, the cast of The Wandering includes Bambi Banks Couleé as The Performer, Ethan Kirschbaum as The Doppelgänger, and Daria Harper as The Crow.
The additional creative team for The Wandering includes Sahil Gupta and spase.io (augmented reality developer), Jared O'Brian (Sound Designer/Engineer), Brian Gill (Album Producer), Frank Sun (Director of Photography), and Craig Black (Choreographer).
The development of The Wandering has been supported by The Schwarzman Center at Yale University and the Innovation in Art Song Summit at the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. The Wandering was made possible by a grant from the Puffin Foundation.
Please visit https://experiencethewandering.com/ for more information.