“You have got to keep stuff in your head. What’s important is that you feed off of what [the actors] say. And what they say and ask you is changing your opinions.” – Gordon
Gordon is nine years old, but already he has figured out that not everything is as simple as it may seem, particularly when it comes to analyzing the “facts.” Gordon and 60 others tested their fact-finding skills at Sunday’s opening day performance of The Trial of Typhoid Mary.
Co-produced by N-YHS and Live In Theater, The Trial of Typhoid Mary is immersive theater production designed for family audiences. But as a grown-up who has been to Sleep No More five times, Escape the Room three times and hosted a village-wide scavenger hunt for her nth birthday, I felt right at home uncovering the facts of the case with my teammates who ranged from Gordon’s age, up through the pre-teens and teenagers, to adults.
“Mrs. Vanderbilt enjoyed the show very much! It was a great experience for me to have with my three granddaughters and do something active, not passive.” – Kathy
Kathy was so engaged walking into the space that the show’s “host” seated her in front with the “featured guests.” She was asked to the play the esteemed Mrs. Vanderbilt! (It’s almost like getting off the elevator on the seventh floor at the McKittrick Hotel.)
I don’t want to give too much away about the show except to tell you that the story is based on real New York history. The year is 1915, the influx of immigrants caused tensions to be at an all-time high across the city and throughout the country. Preventing the spread of typhoid is a priority for the New York Department of Health, represented by the intrepid sanitation engineer, Dr. George A. Soper.
“It’s cool how you could be acting with them.” –Natalie
Audience members are introduced to the story and its various characters and then let loose into the Museum where, in assigned groups, they visit the pertinent parties to learn more about the case. When the groups reconvene, the space has been transformed into a courtroom. The gathered facts will provide ammunition then for the prosecution, defense, and jury, each in-filled with eager audience members.
“I would recommend getting your brain worked up for a big case!” –Gordon
There’s our wise Gordon again. Something tells me he likes history!
In full disclosure, that’s me with my own daughter and one of the actors. I work here at the New-York Historical Society, helping to plan many of the family programs through our DiMenna Children’s History Museum. So, while I do have a bias, you can tell by the smiles on our faces that we are enjoying our Sunday afternoon!
Tickets for The Trial of Typhoid Mary can be purchased online at nyhistory.org/typhoidmary or by clicking one of the dates below. The remaining show dates and times are as follows:
Ticket prices are $45 ($40 Members).