It's not uncommon for Bonnie Cullum to create an ambitious undertaking at the Vortex. Cullum and her company have spent the past three decades trying to create something that will top whatever their previous show was. But their current piece, Performance Park, might hold the record as largest Vortex production for the foreseeable future.
"I don't imagine that we will ever try anything this big again," Cullum says. "We worked on this for a number of years, to get enough people and enough interest and to plan it out."
Performance Park isn't just onstage at the Vortex; it's on the stage, in the rest of the building, outside the building, on the grounds of the Vortex complex, in the Butterfly Bar, at Patrizi's restaurant... it's basically taking place in every square inch of property the Vortex has access to.
"[This is] our thirtieth season, so I was trying to do something that was not like anything we had ever done before and would also encompass the whole Vortex compound," Cullum says, "and have performance in places that people had never seen performance before."
Cullum and the Vortex company have created an immersive theatrical scavenger hunt that involves twenty-eight characters, nine or ten sets ("depending on how you count them," Cullum says), full musical numbers, an art installation, and an interactive game.
Guests are encouraged to interact with the Performance Park to their level of comfort. "There is a quest within the quest, and you may or may not go on that quest," Cullum says. "You could also just sit down and have a drink and kind of watch what's going on around you."
The quest and the characters in Performance Park are inspired by the major arcana of the Tarot. "I think the thing that's been most profound for me is the way that these archetypes of the Tarot work on people, and the things that come up," says Cullum. "All these characters are rich, human qualities that we hope to learn from."