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The Tale Was Told - NYC, Jan - Feb 2019

(Note: The Mortality Machine was a New York City immersive experience that ran in 2019. While the experience is currently dark, visit us at for our current projects

This story is about you

The Mortality Machine won’t tell you what happens after you die,

but it will help you find the answer for yourself.

The Mortality Machine is an immersive theatre experience that combines live-action roleplay and site specific dance to allow you, the participants, to become the protagonists of the story. You’ll make meaningful choices that have unique consequences, and confront and reflect on your own views about what happens after death.

Content Warning

The Mortality Machine contains: depictions of medical procedures, depictions of death and grieving and profanity.  It is not suitable for children under the age of 18.

Recommended by the 
New York Times!

"While most shows will draw the line at letting you pick where you sit, here is one entirely driven by your choices, upgrading you from passive observer to protagonist in something like a real-life video game."


January 15th - February 3rd, 2019

(Dark on Mondays)



59 Canal Street Basement

New York, NY 10002

(look for the blue door)

General Admission


The Story So Far
The Canal Street Basement | The Mortality Machine

In 2014, five people died in an illegal medical experiment in a Canal Street basement. Before their families could learn what happened, the incident was covered up: buried under a mountain of legal procedures and sealed behind a web of police tape. No one knew how those five people came to participate in the experiment, or what they were doing; only that it cost them their lives.


Some of their survivors moved on. Some fell apart. A handful kept fighting, and after five years, they’ve finally won the opportunity to unseal the laboratory, and learn what took their loved ones from them. When you enter the world of The Mortality Machine, you’ll take the role of one of those survivors, venturing into basement for the first time.


And what you’ll find defies science and hope.

The Experience Itself

The Mortality Machine is a two-hour experience that combines multiple immersive storytelling techniques. Over the course of the evening, you’ll take on the persona of one of the surviving family members of the experiment's victims, and tell a shared story with the other participants. As a small, intimate group, you’ll explore the laboratory and solve the mystery of your loved one’s death. Along the way, you’ll encounter peculiar individuals who'll help you tell your tale using dance and movement. Unlike other performances, these movements become a form of interaction - a medium of communication that offers vital clues to the puzzle.


Most importantly, you’ll make choices, and those choices will have consequences not only for you, but the people around you. You’ll work with them, and maybe even against them, to create a story that is as much yours as it is ours. No two experiences of The Mortality Machine will be the same.

The Design

One of the core tenets of The Mortality Machine's design philosophy is interactivity - this is a story that you actively tell, not passively observe. Since all participants have different storytelling styles, the designers have chose to reveal a number of "behind the scenes" resources. These include:

Danse Macabre | The Mortality Machine

​Another core design tenet is the 360-degree illusion: The Mortality Machine surrounds the participants, and blurs the distinction between reality and narrative. You might have already encountered this here on our website... if you've looked hard enough.

The Team
Ryan Hart
Ryan Hart | The Mortality Machine

Ryan would claim to be a tinker, a tailor, a soldier, and a spy, but in truth he couldn’t hem a pair of pants. He developed his interest in storytelling as a cadet at the United States Air Force Academy, where he discovered theatre as part of the Academy’s Bluebard’s Theater Troupe. His live-action career has taken him from California to New York, producing over two dozen events in four states, as well as running events for hundreds (and one time, thousands) of people. Outside of live-action roleplay, Ryan is a pilot with over 1,500 hours over Iraq and Afghanistan, and a member of the Board of Trustees of both the Barrow Group and the Falcon Theater Program. He also has a teenage daughter who wants to be a writer one day, or so her instagram says.  

Lara Marcin
Lara Marcin | The Mortality Machine

Lara’s heart is easily captured by unabashed grooves. From dancing to the musical sounds of a toilet flush as an infant, Lara has been moved to take dance with her wherever she goes. Lara’s choreography experience includes tour choreography for The Chainsmokers and Zhu, fashion choreography for Zhu’s Nightday Collection, music video choreography in a variety of genres, and artistic direction for the LA-based experimental performing arts company, Sokamba. Lara complements her dance pursuits with live production, producing or working as a production assistant for shows, festivals, and concerts. When work is on pause, Lara can be found in nature or having lengthy conversations with loved ones (or strangers).

Tommy Honton
Tommy Honton | The Mortality Machine

Original Cast: Daan Bootsma, Isaac Conner, Allegra Durante, Julia Jurgilewicz, Zilomi Law, Rita McCann, Kelsey Rondeau, Jessy Smith, Jennifer Suter, Rafael Svarin, Lindsay Wolgel

Daniel Tan - Executive Producer

Jason Knox - Exceutive Producer

Jessica Cauttero - Production Manager

Samantha Paul - Stage Manager

Wildrence - Scenic Design

Orli Native - Production Design

Sergey Kasich - Sound Design

Alex Young - Fabrication

Terry Guldimann - Fabrication Assistant

Weston Harper - Physical Computing

Bret Lehne - Carpenter

Emily Owens PR - Press Agent

Jenny Tibbels - Marketing

Sergey Kasich, Kevin Kim, Yo-Yo Lin - Technicians

Additional Team Members

Banana Chan - Videography

Allegra Durante - Visual Design

Liz Paulie - Photography

Terra Warman - Original Music

Emily Kaye and Anna White - Documentarians

Zack Filkoff - Production Photography

The Mortality Machine and Sinking Ship Creations logos were designed by Taran Lopez

Contact Us

Questions? Contact us at

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