At 7pm one Saturday this September, I found myself in Downtown Brooklyn’s Metrotech Commons wearing a bright green frog hat and laughing heartily with a group of one hundred fellow “fools.” I was participating in a scene in “When I Left the House It Was Still Dark,” a performance by the collective Odyssey Works. While the spectacle was public, the scene and the other experiences that made up the performance were created for only one person. Once or twice a year, the directorial team behind Odyssey Works (for the most recent performance: Abraham Burickson, Ayden Grout, Jen Harmon, and Ariel Abrahams) selects a single “participant,” chosen through an extensive application process — which starts by asking questions that range from “What is your favorite color?” to “What is your biggest unlived dream in life?” to “Would you be willing to be blindfolded?” — to receive a weekend-long series of experiences engineered specifically for his or her individual tastes, history, and relationships to people and place. Employing family members and friends of the participant, a diverse group of artists, and the general public, Odyssey Works blurs the line between the “real” and the “performed” with its experimental and experiential work.
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