By David Walters

“What you remember becomes your destiny.”

For interactive theater, cult exploration is a familiar template as it provides automatic group goals and the opportunity to have a black sheep or two from the fold that is not fitting in with the herd which is revealed in a clandestinely conversation, with a wink to the audience, that disrupts the proceedings. The hard part is getting the audience to care as much as the participants in furthering the cults mission.

“Do you know how it feels to look down the barrel of your life and see that your destiny was to do nothing? And knowing that it’s too late to change it?”

While sailing east to west across the Atlantic from Padua, over the course of 11 days, Vicky recounted her life on cassette tapes brought by her young sailing companion, Harold. This divulging brought her psychologically to a place of transcendence and later, after settling in Nebraska, she became a local guru helping people with their problems. After she died the tapes were used by Harold to create an EST-like experience where he was able to collect, in a similar 11-day all-day divulgence, the latent life memories of participants and add them to the archive. One problem was that the participants would all get stuck in one of their memories and they would re-live it over and over again for the rest of their lives. But that didn’t matter to Harold as the goal of expanding the archive would be achieved. Harold’s son, Harold (Dan Kuan Peeples), has now taken the reins and is guiding the 37th session of participants towards their 11-day soul-bearing recording session as they go through an intensive training period of stripping away personal defenses prior to the session.

What’s fun about this production are the many rooms at The Attic (the sixth floor rehearsal rooms of The Tank) that are utilized by The Vicky Archives. Audience members are split up and move around the different spaces to experience various aspects of the training/initiation process as well as being filled in a little more about Vicky and her life journey.

“Memories are the lies we tell ourselves to justify that the life we lived was worthwhile. They’re the only thing in life that we create. (Memories are) the receipts of life.”

The Vicky Archives is a co-production with Brouhaha and the Core Production, and co-created by Nick Auer, Allie Freed, Sam James, Dan Kuan Peeples, Sam Myers, and Max Pendergast. It was written by Sam Myers and Dan Kuan Peeples and is directed by Nick Auer.

The cast: Marjorie Conn, Allie Freed, Marisela Grajeda Gonzalez, Dan Kuan Peeples, Nick Auer, and Nile Assata Harris.

Set design by Cat Raynor, costume design by Kindall Almond, lighting design by Jacqueline Scalletta, and sound design by Max Silverman.

The Attic @ The Tank is located on the sixth floor of their current building at 312 W. 36th Street in Midtown Manhattan. The space, which features four rehearsal studios to provide free and subsidized rehearsal and performance space for non-profits and independent artists.

The Tank’s Core Production series serves companies and artists as they create new works for performance, giving emerging artists resources to build their careers and artistic voices. These productions receive institutional support in the form of financial assistance, performance and rehearsal space, press, marketing, and more, culminating in a world premiere production run. This is a one-of-a-kind resource for artists to develop in that has no match.

Performances will run through May 18 as a multi-room experience at The Attic @ The Tank (312 West 36th Street).