Party Like It’s 1984!


Dystopian Vistas and Fabulous Dancing in Wilmington


The NYC based immersive dance company Motion Picture Show came to Wilmington to give us REAL LIFE TEST – a theatrical experience unlike anything you’ve ever seen. 13,000 square feet of the finest downtown Wilmington real estate was completely transformed into an Orwellian game of choose-your-own-adventure. The cast includes Broadway veterans along with UNCW faculty and students. Big Brother danced his way through Wilmington March 1st-5th! 

Cucalorus sat down for a Q&A with the performance’s director – Nick Kepley – to give you an exclusive look into the show. We’re nice like that. To get fully indoctrinated, grab a friend and attend this week! Remember – we’ve always been at war with Eastasia.

Cucalorus: How did you come up with the idea for Real Life Test/How long have you been working on it?Nick Kepley: We’ve been working on REAL LIFE TEST for almost a year. The initial inspiration came from the concept of gender roles in society and a questioning of why we feel the need to define our sexuality in any capacity. From there we started to incorporate themes from 1984 and decided to set the work in a futuristic society where power and control are very much in flux.

Cucalorus: What inspired you to choose to base it off 1984?

Nick Kepley: We were searching for a narrative to serve as a jumping off point for us. Since the work is told purely through movement, it helps to have a story that most people can walk in knowing or at least understanding the basic themes. At the time we initially started building the show, the outcome of the 2016 Presidential election was still very much up for grabs. Since November, I feel like the power and importance of telling this story has only grown.

Cucalorus: What are you hoping audiences take away?

Nick Kepley: My greatest hope is that people will just give themselves permission to get completely lost and carried away in the world of the show. Whether it’s the story, the dance, the set installation or the music, there’s really something for everyone to enjoy. We’ve purposely designed the show in such a way that it’s basically impossible to follow the story in a narrative fashion from start to finish. So rather than stressing out too much about “understanding it,” I hope they just let themselves enjoy the dreaminess of it all and let it transport them.

Cucalorus: What are some other shows (if any) that inspired Real Life Test?

Nick Kepley: I’m a huge fan of immersive theatre in general. The first time I saw Punchdrunk’s Sleep No More, it truly changed my life. I’m also a big fan of Third Rail Projects’ shows. Any time you can shake up the norm and knock the audience out of their comfort zone, I’m all for it!

Cucalorus: Is there anything you’d like readers to know before going in?

Nick Kepley: Just keep an open mind and enjoy yourself! We’re performing artists so our goal is to entertain first and foremost. Have fun!

Thanks to contributing writer Winston Orzechowski.