Charlie Todd, the founder of New York’s Improv Everywhere collective, recently presented The MP3 Experiment, the first live theatrical performance experienced by audience members exclusively through headphones.
In anticipation of the event, the Experiment’s Web site described the experience this way:
“There are no actors. There is no host. Audience members will download an MP3 track from the show’s Web site in advance, load it onto their portable players, and bring it with them to the show. The lights go down, a video projection cues the audience to press play on their MP3 players simultaneously, and the show begins.
“The MP3 track is an intricate mix of music and instructions from an unknown voice. The show is 100 per cent audience participation; the crowd becomes the show, working together to create pure happiness on stage. “Taking inspiration from the antics of rock band The Flaming Lips (especially their Parking Lot Experiments and Headphone Concerts), The MP3 Experiment uses 21st-century technology to give audiences an entirely new experience.
According to the Improv Everywhere Web site, Todd is no stranger to bringing large groups of people together for his unconventional ideas. “His group has pulled off numerous stunts around New York including running an offshore gambling casino on a rowboat in Central Park and filling a subway car with 50 pantless riders,” the site said.