By: Vanessa Lauren
No set. No crew. No problem.
Majestic Repertory is a local theater company on the rise who was headed into their fourth season of immersive theater before the pandemic and has now taken on the challenge of recreating the arts.
Majestic was amongst those forced to close their doors and put all events on hold after Governor Sisolak’s order in March. However, in true entertainment fashion that did not stop owner and artistic director Troy Heard, actor Mike Vargovich, and actress Natalie Senecal from figuring out a way for the ‘show’ to go on.
“We were like how can we keep this world alive and maybe bring some entertainment to our community?” Natalie explained.
Determined to keep the arts alive they tried different virtual events first like “Dial ‘S’ for Salvation” where participants could call and ‘repent’ for their sins and “Day Drinking with Majestic Rep.” Finally they came up with a drive-thru retail theater experience “Majestic Drive-Thru Theater” that debuted in April.
Seeing a good turnout and feeling inspired playwright Adam Szymkowicz came up with the idea to write a new play for a cast of two about a couple going through a challenging time after being quarantined together. Far fetched from reality right? He pitched the idea to Troy who pitched the idea to real-life partners Natalie and Mike and “The Parking Lot” was born.
Despite being more familiar with the immersive theater scene Natalie who plays J in The Parking Lot and Mike who plays Terry say they are ready and up for the new task of performing in front of an audience of cars as opposed to people.
“It’s a unique challenge in trying to force that connection and that’s something we encounter a lot in immersive shows,” Natalie said.
“Ever since the pandemic… everybody’s doing the thing they’ve always done a little differently” Mike went on to say, “this is [our] version of playing a sport for no fans and [our] version of having to teach math over the computer. We’re gonna talk to an audience but they are going to be in their cars”
Combined Mike and Natalie have more than 10 years of performing experience. As a former frontman of his own band, Mike shared his advice for students or those just getting started in the arts at such an uncertain time.
“Performers and artists of all kinds, musicians, dancers, comics, etc are a resilient bunch anyway. When you’re in school you’re looking at an uncertain future anyway and I think that is what’s attractive about it.”
Natalie and Troy also added words of encouragement for students.
“Take this time to work on those skills you want to get better at” Natalie advised, “I know it’s hard without an audience [but] create your own things and try and express yourself the best you can.”
“We just have to be patient and keep working on our craft,” said Troy “changes happen and you have to adapt with it but I think the creative mind knows how to adapt.”
When asked what they hope audience members get out of “The Parking Lot” experience all three touched on the sense of community and connection in the current tough times.
“[The play] is hopeful. We just want to connect and hope these audience members can feel a connection with the characters and the journey they are on” Natalie said.
“What we’re trying to do is show a relationship on stage,” Mike explained, “because the world right now, it’s tough for people to connect.”
If you are interested in attending this one of a kind experience you must make your purchase ahead of time on the Majestic Repertory website.
Tickets are being sold in the form of air-fresheners in order to adhere to Governor Sisolak’s COVID-19 phase 2 restrictions but Troy wants to assure those coming to the experience that it is completely safe.
The private parking lot location is announced to the ticket buyer the day before and this “pop-up retail experience” runs now through October 11th with 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. showtimes Thursdays through Sundays. Only one air-freshener is needed per car.
The Majestic Repertory team is leading the way in taking risks and pushing the limits in the arts’ world and it’s only a matter of time before others follow suit. As Troy so eloquently said, “creators are always going to create.”