The Echo Vault is a temporary memory chamber dedicated to sonic experimentation and uncontrolled dance.
This event is two hours long on Friday, June 21 at midnight. Attending may put you at significant risk. This form may help you determine if entering the Echo Vault is for you.
Are you willing to hike for 30 minutes? Yes / No
Can you climb up a 20-foot ladder? Yes / No
There are no bathrooms. Are you cool with that? Yes / No
Once the event starts you will not be able leave until it’s over. That cool with you? Yes / No
This event occurs in a legally questionable venue. Do you have any outstanding warrants or open court cases? Are you in New York on a visa? Yes / No
There is a time and place for hot pants. Yes / No
Partway through the “Roadkill” bus ride, Mercy Ojelade, who plays the young girl, Mary (and at 30 looks surprisingly like a 14-year-old, which she portrays), boards the bus with Martha, an older woman (Adura Onashile) who is ostensibly caring for her. Riders interact with the naïve young girl, excited to have left her home for New York (or Chicago, or wherever — “Roadkill” is tailored to the host city). The time on the bus, Ms. Bissett said, is as vital to the show as the eventual destination.
“It’s so important that you bond with her first,” she said. “If you meet people right at the start when they’re already the victim, I think it’s harder for us to engage because they seem other. You can’t quite put yourself in their world, because it’s so far removed from you.”
Once the audience members arrive at the apartment, they witness Mary’s quick, brutal initiation into her new trade. She is trapped in the apartment as a succession of men pay a pimp for her services, and escape soon becomes a remote possibility at best.
“We have your passport,” Martha tells her. “We have your papers. You have nowhere else to go. You are one of us now.”
I saw this immersive theatre production a few days ago. I’m not sure I have the words to fully describe the effect of the show had on me, and continues to have on me.
Mercy Ojelade, though. Man. Mercy Ojelade. Her transformation from hopeful arrival from Nigeria to forced prostitute was so intense, so heartbreaking.
EDIT: There are some last minute tickets for this weekend!
The show is sold out otherwise.