By Nicole Itkin

Odd Man Out is an experience unlike any other, described as “a fully immersive sensorial experience designed to ignite the senses and the imagination.” It does do all of that, and more. 

The experience started before the show, outside, with signs directing into and through the airport, pointing us to “departures.” Inside, there’s a simple but elegant “exclusive, members-only” lounge. Straight ahead: Gate A4.

To board, we held onto our guides as they led us into absolute darkness. They seated us on board, handed us snacks and a card, and told us to await take-off.

I looked around. Or, I tried to. Sure, I knew it would be dark, but it was DARK. There was no light. None. It was the darkest space I’ve ever been in.

Passengers took their seats, the flight attendants made their final checks, and then the plane departed, heading from New York to Buenos Aires. We were there to follow Alberto Rinaldi, our narrator and a blind man.

The entirety of the show took place in alternating scenes between the plane and the story Rinaldi was describing, the reason for his being on the flight to Buenos Aires—heading back home. It’s Rinaldi’s love story, and that of those around him.

We “see” the moment reality hits him: the moment a child Rinaldi steps outside his home and meets the other kids and it hits him that he’s not like them. We see his dad gives him a soccer ball with a bell on it, and the joy in his voice when he starts playing. We see him grow up and fall in love—with a girl and with music. This is the story he tells as he’s on the flight to the passengers next to him. We hear the passengers get more and more invested in his story, to the point of almost-hysterical laughter, tearful whispers, urgent demands, as if any of it can change the past or the possibilities for the future. And yet there’s still hope, that maybe… if they hope or demand urgently enough…events will turn out like they want it.

The whole show is fun, it’s passionate, it’s emotional.

But what was most special to me—riveting and hilarious—was the interactions between one of the passengers and the flight attendant. The way the two of them found each other’s last nerve, and pressed it to hell and back during the 11 hour flight, was remarkable.

I didn’t need to see any of the characters to understand them. And I understood them so well because all we had was voices.

Truly, I can’t say enough about how clearly every character showed up in my mind, how easily I could see them: despite and because of the darkness. Their voices, the scents that wafted in, the brief moments of song, and the rain that drizzled down at one point—all of it made every moment come to life. 

This is one to see! Go see it before the runs ends on July 21!!

 

Odd Man Out is running through July 21, tickets here

 ODD MAN OUT, is presented by PITCHBLACK Immersive Experiences in association with Radio Drama Network. Written by Martín Bondone and directed by Carlos Armesto (with additional direction by Facundo Bogarin), ODD MAN OUT is performing at the Sheen Center for Thought & Culture’s Shiner Theatre (18 Bleecker St, New York, NY 10012.)