As a psychologist with a background in theater, Wendy Lippe’s Psych Drama Company produces plays that “go for the emotional jugular,” she says. “We need these stories that speak to joy and pain.”
Finding those connections often means the company’s in-person performances blur the boundaries between actors and audience, making the experience more intimate and the audience more complicit in the action onstage. Rather than allow the pandemic to frustrate her efforts, Lippe says it offered new opportunities.
“Lots has been written about how bombarded we are by overstimulation,” she says, “and how it is killing our imagination. We decided we can tell great stories by focusing on the language with an audio play, heightening the experience by relying on the imagination to conjure the images.”
While many local theaters have turned to an audio format, Lippe says her company has stayed true to its immersive experience by creating a “3-D audio surround-sound experience.” This month, Psych Drama is presenting two audio dramas, “Macbeth” (Sept. 10-24) and “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof” (Sept. 11-25).
Psych Drama’s 90-minute “Macbeth” is produced in association with the Audiovisual Center Dubrovnik and features the music and sound design of Zarko Dragojevic. Far from simply performing the play to a microphone, Dragojevic’s original music, and the use of what Lippe calls “whispers,” add to the dramatic tension.
As Lippe was considering how to explore the lushness of a performance with no visual stimulation, she happened on the website ArtLifting, which featured the vivid, abstract paintings of Nick Morse.