The American Repertory Theater is juggling two productions, appealing to two very different audiences, on one stage.
"Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812" takes place in 19th century Moscow, a captivating world of chandeliers and salons. The musical presents a story of love and fate from Tolstoy's "War and Peace" as an electro-pop opera, one that delivers a sensory experience to audiences with immersive staging.
"I would say it's a 360-degree environment," said director Rachel Chavkin.
To bring it all to life, Chavkin worked with creator Dave Malloy and set designer Mimi Lien, winner of a 2015 MacArthur "Genius Grant."
"[Mimi] began by doing a whole bunch of nightclub research, and she found some of these incredible nightclubs with these sunken banquettes where you walk on these curvy surfaces," said Chavkin. "I would definitely say this is the most elaborate set I've ever worked with."
"Comet" isn't the only team using this staging. The A.R.T.'s holiday children's show "The Pirate Princess is giving kids a different kind of adventure. Twins are shipwrecked at sea, encountering a gang of pirates and a 40-foot sea monster.
"This set is incredible," said resident director Allegra Libonati. It has levels, it has journeys. We turned it into a dock and a pirate ship."
Between shows, the production crew transforms the stage from the high seas back to Moscow, allowing the theater to give audiences a theater experience unlike most.
"Natasha, Pierre, and the Great Comet of 1812" is all sold out for the remainder of the run. There are still some tickets available for "The Pirate Princess" if you're looking for a family-friendly activity during the holiday break. Click here for ticket information.