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.
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
"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)
The Story So Far
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.
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:
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.
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’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 was born at a young age in Kansas. He attended Washington University in Saint Louis and majored in Classics and Psychology with a minor in Film & Media Studies. After college, Tommy moved to Los Angeles where he writes, designs games and experiences, co-hosts a podcast, and trains his cats to do fun and interesting tricks. He is also the co-creator of the critically-acclaimed escape room Stash House, the interactive exhibition The Museum of Selfies, and a founding member of the League of Experiential Artists.
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
Questions? Contact us at