Theater critic J. Wynn Rousuck, who joins Tom each Thursday with her impressions of the region's latest stagecraft, this week reviews what Submersive Productions likes to call its "immersive" new offering at Baltimore's historic Peale Center, called H.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum Presents the Treasures of New Galapagos and Astonishing Acquisitions from the Perisphere.
Like previous excursions by Submersive Productions, H.T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum, based on a concept by Lisa Stoessel, engages the audience in a non-traditional theatrical setting. It encourages playgoers to explore the former Peale Museum's three stories of interconnected rooms, each not only filled with art, curios and exhibition-style display cases, but also peopled with live actors and puppets.
The titular H.T. Darling, played by mustachioed Sarah Olmstead Thomas, is a well-to-do explorer who has just returned from an expedition to a fanciful region of outer space called the Perisphere, and an alien planet he's named New Galapagos. Darling shares the artifacts he's brought back with him in his Incredible Musaeum, where each audience member chooses his or her own path through the rooms, and through the evening's strange and cleverly organized events.
H. T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum is directed by Lisi Stoessel, Susan Stroupe and Glenn Ricci. Mr. Ricci is also Submersive Productions' co-artistic director, with Ursula Marcum.
The cast also includes Josh Aterovis (Clayton, a museum guard), Francisco Benavides (The Groundskeeper), Caitlin Bouxsein (a museum guard), David Brasington (Carol, a curator), E’Tona Ford (a museum guard), Emily Hall (shopkeeper-shared role), Brad Norris (Cedric), Martha Robichaud (shopkeeper-shared role), Trustina Sabah (Aku Maxilla, “humanoid specimen”), Lisi Stoessel (Maude, a curator), and Alex Vernon (Dr. Percy Warner).
Ursula Marcum and Jess Rassp are the play's puppeteers.
H. T. Darling's Incredible Musaeum is playing at the historic Peale Center, where its run has been extended through Sunday, May 14. Ticket and showtime information here.