Imagine going to a play and finding yourself wearing headphones, sitting in a "power circle" of 15-20 people, and readying yourself for a "soul journey." Sounds a wee creepy, to be sure. Fortunately, the Dodeska Performance Ensemble knows the risks of forced interaction - thats kinda the point. Promising "a fun but unsettling experience" at The Group, the troupe satirizes the empty platitudes and commercial sleaze of self-help seminars with one of its own, an Enacted Self-Empowerment Workshop. Wearing headphones, the audience is led by a charismatic Group Leader, who is not the peach he seems, while music by composer Alex Duffy sets the mood. Audiences are simultaneously attracted and repelled, snug in their audio bubbles yet forced to share the experience with others, often via direct eye contact. If it sounds experimental, it's not: Dodeska has been disarming audiences with unique mixes of theater, sound art, and technology since its founding in 2003 by Robert Quillen Camp. It's also had fun with locations. Former pieces have been set in an old factory in Brooklyn, a luxury apartment in Chicago, and a SoHo loft populated by giant bird puppets. As for the this workshop's Group Leader, he's played by Ryan Eggensperger, an actor who's been compared to John Leguizamo and Eric Bogosian, a persuasive pair who know how to sell a role. If that's at all accurate, expect to be buying whatever he's selling.
Thursdays-Saturdays, 8 & 10:30 p.m. Starts: May 29. Continues through June 14, 2008