Posthumous, a Zoom-based virtual performance exploring a digitized afterlife, will return for TWO WEEKENDS ONLY! Presented by Phoenix Tears Productions, the woman-led theater company that brought you Infected, The Witches, and Horror in Headphones, Posthumous utilizes creative world building, improvised performer interactions, and responsive storytelling to immerse audience members in this not-so-distant potential future!
I first experienced the world of Posthumous in December of 2020, during a time when most activities – from doctor’s appointments to job interviews and college classes – were completed virtually. Yet even with this cultural acceptance of Internet-based and by necessity slightly impersonal interactions, Phoenix Tears used the medium to create a seemingly organic environment. By setting the events of Posthumous in a digital space, the world and the characters inside it feel real and natural – resulting in an impressively immersive experience right in your own home.
The World of Posthumous
In the world of Posthumous, the afterlife is digitized. Those wishing to avoid the unknown can have their consciousness and memories uploaded into the system for assimilation into their digital utopia. While there are multiple post-mortal companies from which to choose, Posthumous provides individual attention and interaction with the deceased to aid in memory recovery. This system, known as the Interactive Afterlife Memory System or IAM, best matches its customers with an appropriate afterlife scenario.
This IAM system, while technically able to be automated with coding and logarithms, works best with the supervision and involvement of human facilitators. By entering the memories of new Posthumous customers, employees can carefully and compassionately help the recently deceased recover their sense of self.
Phoenix Tears has produced three virtual shows taking place within this post-mortal universe. Posthumous, Cold Case, and Recovery explore different characters and departments in this fictional after-life company. You can learn more about the show and its history on Phoenix Tears’ website.
My Posthumous Experience
Before experiencing Posthumous, I was hesitant about the potential success of a digital show. I wrote in my 2020 article, “As a fan of live theater, I’ve been skeptical of Zoom shows and virtual outlets promising a performance experience. Posthumous, however, has convinced me that it is still possible to produce quality, engaging productions in a digitally distanced world. With the appropriate premise and setting, I was completely immersed into the experience and just as engaged as I would have been in a physically present performance.”
With Phoenix Tears’ innovative writing and performance styles, this company is exceptionally suited to create virtually immersive experiences. Because the Posthumous story is entirely set within a digital world, it is easy to suspend your disbelief and engage with these characters in a natural and organic way. Couple this setting with the performer’s improvisational talent and creative storytelling methods, and you have an incredibly unique show!
What equipment/knowledge do I need to participate in Posthumous?
To participate in a Posthumous show, you need an Internet-connected device as well as a free Zoom account. While the show is best experienced using a desktop or laptop computer, a phone or tablet can be used if necessary.
Posthumous includes multiple “tracks,” meaning audience members will be split into groups and asked to interact with different characters. During these scenes, participants will be directed into various break out rooms. While Phoenix Tears’ staff will manage these transitions, you will need to understand basic Zoom functions like operating your camera and muting your microphone.
How can I buy tickets to Posthumous?
Posthumous will run September 23-25 and October 7-9 with available showtimes varying by date. Buy your tickets online, and remember that each individual device will require separate admission.
Tickets are $25 each, or you can purchase a VIP experience for $35. VIP tickets include extra performer interactions as well as an exclusive Q&A session with the Posthumous creators. VIP pass holders will also have the opportunity to choose their own track – giving them more control over their show experience.
About Phoenix Tears Productions
A woman-run theater company in Orlando, Phoenix Tears produces innovative performance concepts throughout Central Florida and online. Attending a Phoenix Tears show is to experience a completely new kind of theater, with original storylines and characters and probably presented in a format you’ve never experienced – unless you’ve attended one of their previous productions. Follow their Twitter and Facebook page for updates on current shows and events.
Freaky Thoughts: Posthumous
As a big fan of Phoenix Tears Productions and their immersive, out-of-the-box performance styles, I highly recommend Posthumous and the rest of the post-mortal company Zoom shows. By making the virtual format a part of the story instead of simply a necessary medium, Phoenix Tears has created an engaging experience full of interactive characters and fascinating storylines. Shows may sell out, so buy your ticket today!
What You Need To Know Before Attending Posthumous
- Pay attention to the chat feature. Other audience members and actors will use it to communicate essential information, and your participation may affect your experience.
- You don’t need to completely understand Zoom. Your host will transport you between breakout rooms without any effort on your part. You don’t need to have a deep understanding of the software, however, you do need to understand how to turn on and off your camera and how to mute and unmute yourself.
- Eliminate distractions. This is a virtual experience, but that doesn’t make it less engaging or immersive than an in-person performance. Hire a baby sitter. Give the dog a treat. Tell your family to stay out of your room (or buy their own ticket for a separate device)! Do what you need to do to focus on the show and participate appropriately.
- You are on a mission. This show is about more than simply conversing with the actors as they tell a story. You are integral part of the show’s plot. You need to be prepared to accept tasks and acquire vital pieces of information.
- Be respectful, but don’t be afraid to speak up. In order to get the information you need, you have to ask questions and interact! Of course, be mindful of the scene situation, but don’t be afraid to play the part you are given.
- Have fun! More than anything, this show is an opportunity to explore a fascinating fictional world and situation. Enjoy it!