For 16-year-old dancer Macy Gosch, art imitates life as she portrays a conflicted teenager in Sonder, an immersive theater production, July 7 to 15 at the Studio Loft in the Ellie Caulkins Opera House.
Sonder is an original production that engages all 48 audience members with the performers. Performers, who are all under 18, escort the audience members through a “labyrinth” of seven scenes, all revolving around the life of a young artist portrayed by Gosch. “My character plays a graduating high school senior who realizes she’s not sure of her path in life,” said Gosch, a sophomore at Northfield High School. “She’s a painter, but she’s also interested in pursuing a more traditional career. The show follows her journey as she figures it out. I really connect to the story because earlier this year I was there.”
Gosch has studied dance since age 7, including ballet, modern dance, jazz, tap and hip-hop, and competed in many dance competitions. “I had planned to major in dance in college, but I changed my mind,” she said. “I decided to focus more intensely on academics so I can go to medical school. I’m still passionate about dance, but I’m not pursuing it as a career. So, the play reflects what’s been going on in my life.”
Sonder is a collaborative effort by 19-year-old artistic director Makena Sneed, producer/choreographer Elizabeth Goitia and playwright Caroline Fenty. “The immersive play Sweet and Lucky inspired them, so they mixed all their ideas together,” said Gosch.
Eleven dancers from all over Colorado will portray the characters in Sonder. “Besides my character, there’s my boyfriend and people from my past who influence my decision-making process. Among them are a younger version of me and a mean girl on the playground who disparages my art. There are people at my dad’s office when I’m there for a ‘take your daughter to work day.’ And there’s my internal side, my inner artist. The dance elements represent what the characters are feeling.
“Everyone in the audience gets something from the experience, whether they are young, or older and looking back on what it was like to make important decisions. My character has no name so the audience will put themselves in her position.”
The Ellie Caulkins Opera House is at 1400 Curtis St. Sonder plays July 7–15 at 7:30pm, with additional matinees at 2pm Sat. and Sun., July 8 and 9. Tickets are $20 at AXS.com.