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The Cowgirls Get Immersive at Home

March 7, 2019

The Neo-Political Cowgirls, a nonprofit dance theater company founded in 2007, is known for adventurous performances often staged in unusual locations. For example, Zima! — an interactive scavenger hunt — has taken place outdoors in Montauk and other East End locations in the dead of winter.
“Voyeur,” an immersive theater piece previously performed at the Parsons Blacksmith Shop in Springs as well as at Guild Hall and in a Berlin art gallery, will take a different shape on Saturday at a private waterfront house on the Grace Estate in East Hampton’s Northwest Woods.
The newest iteration of “Voyeur” follows in the footsteps of “Sleep No More,” a site-specific telling of Shakespeare’s “Macbeth” that launched the immersive theater trend in 2011. Created by Punchdrunk, a British theater company, “Sleep No More” takes place in a block of warehouses in Manhattan’s Chelsea neighborhood. Audience members walk at their own pace through various rooms in which they observe the actors and can interact with props.
“Voyeur” is “an immersive experience of Earth, Heaven, and Hell,” according to the Cowgirls’ website. As audience members move through the house, they are able to observe the private activities of the performers. Four groups, each limited in size to 36 people, will set out on the 45-minute journey at 4:30, 6, 7:30, and 9 p.m. Unlike previous iterations, this performance will be set to music.
The production will also add a new twist to the phenomenon of staging houses, a longstanding practice aimed at whetting the appetites of potential buyers. While original artworks on loan from local artists have become part of the temporary decor of several listed properties in recent years, the use of a live performance to invigorate a property for sale is a first.
“Voyeur” is being presented in partnership with Michael Daly of Douglas Elliman Real Estate and Dean Miller Real Estate. Mr. Daly has worked with Kate Mueth, the Cowgirls’ founder and artistic director, on several other dance theater events, among them “Eve,” which premiered at LTV Studios in Wainscott in 2012.
When walking through the house in preparation for listing it, Mr. Daly realized that its decor and layout would provide an intriguing site for one of Ms. Mueth’s events. “I mentioned it to Dean Miller, the property’s owner, and he thought it was a terrific idea. Fortunately, so did Kate.” 
Adult beverages and finger food are included in the $26 ticket price. For those 17 and under, who must be accompanied by an adult, the cost is $16. The location of the house will be given when tickets are purchased.
Directed by Ms. Mueth, “Voyeur” will feature actors from the East End and New York City, including Josh Gladstone, Quinn Jackson, Susan Stout, Charlie Westfal, Sarah Azzara, and Michael Versandi.

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