If you’re looking to do something fun and different in New York City, we have just the right activity for you. ODD MAN OUT! The most beautiful story and experience we’ve had in a long time and it’s only 60 minutes. Valentine’s Day is just around the corner so this might be a great way to celebrate.
Odd Man Out NYC, a live immersive experience in complete darkness, lets you experience sounds and smells like you’ve never experienced before.
Pop Style TV’s Lauren Conlin sat down with Odd Man Out producer/director/dramaturg Carlos Armesto. They discussed the show’s origin and more.
About the show
Odd Man Out begins when “passengers” enter a dimly lit space guided by a flight attendant. Passengers put on their headphones and their blindfolds. From there, the story allows listeners to immerse themselves in the tale of Alberto, a blind musician flying home from New York to Buenos Aires, Argentina, after decades of self-exile. As listeners enter Alberto’s story of love, prejudice and fears that were left behind, they experience a 360-surround sound, multi-sensory journey.”
Watch the interview
Cast and what to expect
Because passengers are blindfolded through the entire duration of the flight, the action can be experienced by way of auditory stimulation. Tactile objects and enriched smells. VIP passengers will be able to have their sense of taste piqued as well. All passengers will even feel changing weather happening around them. This experience engages and awakens the senses, tests limits, and ultimately uses the darkness to bring the audience to a new light.
Odd Man Out began at Teatro Ciego in Argentina. It has a 15-year history of creating live experiences in complete darkness. The theater company employs artists and technicians with visual disabilities in all their work. Forty percent of staff and creative teams are made up of blind and low-vision individuals.
The cast of Odd Man Out features Gonzalo Trigueros, Nael Raza, Ignacio Borderes, Alejandra Buljevich, Holly Connor, Andrés Montejo, Carmen Borla, Modesto Lacen, Victoria Raigorodsky, and Aksel Tang.
Odd Man Out is written by Martín Bondone, with direction by Bondone and Facundo Bogarin (Spanish), and Carlos Armesto (English). The Associate Director is Lola Lopez Guardone.
Odd Man Out features original music, arrangements, and music direction by Mirko Mescia. Sound design by Nicolas Álvarez, dramaturgy by Carlos Armesto and Aksel Tang, and storytelling revisions by Matias Guzman. NY producers are Carlos Armesto, Lola Lopez Guardone, and Malcolm March. The disability consultant is Alie Gorrie.
Performances for Odd Man Out at the Flea Theater is currently scheduled to run through Friday, February 18, 2022.
Odd Man Out is also presented as an at home immersive experience where people are sent a box to their home with all the elements required to experience the play.
The show runs approximately 65 minutes with no intermission.
BUY TICKETS HERE
Watch our interview with the Last Survivors Cast
Lauren C: So I’m so excited because I’m joined today by Carlos Armesto, who is the director producer and dramaturg of odd man out this amazing immersive theatrical experience downtown. So, Carlos, thank you so much for joining.
Carlos Armesto: Thank you. It’s awesome to be here.
Lauren C: Yeah. I mean, I met you, uh, I think it was two weeks ago at odd man out when I attended with my husband and I’m telling you, we have not stopped talking about it. We were so moved by this experience and I’m not kidding. We’re theater. People we are New York city people. We loved this experience so much. And you know, I, I know that it’s only, um, it’s only running until next Friday, February 18th, the show I’m hoping you guys extend it. Hopefully there’ll be an announcement soon that you’ll be extending it. But for those that don’t know, can you just tell us about it? What the show.
Carlos Armesto: So an Odd Man Out is a, an immersive, a completely immersive experience in complete darkness. So you don’t see anything, you smell, you taste, you feel, and you hear a story. And what you do is you walk into a space that is geared to be like an airplane. You have a flight attendant that gives you your headsets and a blindfold.
You sit down and you experienced the life of a man, a blind man who has been exiled from Argentina flying back to Buenos Aires and from York and as he’s talking to his seat mates, you start experiencing his life the way he’s experienced it. So it’s. You know, he, you, he doesn’t say anything. So we smell, we feel everything in his life. And, uh, it’s, it’s a very, uh, exciting experience to be able to be doing to New York, uh, especially now in this crazy pandemic that we have.
Lauren C: I know exactly. And sorry, the wifi was a little funny, but you’d mentioned, and it’s a very important thing that you mentioned. This man that we’re following on the plane is blind. So of course the computer was like, nah, like right when you said that. So that’s a very important thing to know because yeah, that’s what makes you feel like you’re, you’re experiencing the world as a blind person because you, you know, your eyes are covered the whole time.
So I got to do the VIP experience, which, um, you know, it was so cool because I came before and I go into the theater before, you know, everyone else does and I get to. Kind of you as a warm up a little bit, right. They gave me some empanada a little bit and they said, you know, what is this? Do you know what this is? They gave you some red wine. So you’re getting this vibe and you’re just like there. So I would suggest people do the VIP experience, but even if you don’t, it’s still so amazing.
So I have, I mean, I don’t want you to give it away too much, but I mean, like, how did you get smells to be so strong. And so, um, I guess evenly spread across the theater when, you know, I mean, an example is that I loved is the coffee smell when, you know, he, he’s talking about, you know, uh, remembering this coffee that was made. And all of a sudden I was like, oh, I love the smell of coffee and I smell it. How did you guys do that?
Carlos Armesto: It’s coffee. Right.
Lauren C: You just took, you took a pot of coffee and you just wafted it around the room.
Carlos Armesto: That’s the idea, the idea is to create the sense of the space. The other sense are much more sophisticated. Uh, but, but like that, something like that is very much, uh, you, you like the coffee? The coffee and you like, we, we, we, we, we have a litter around and we spread it around.
Lauren C: What do you mean they’ll use dabble it and you spread it? What do you mean though? You just, you just take the pot? I literally need to know. I need to know exactly I was doing this.
Carlos Armesto: Yeah. I get the other ones, but I can tell you this one, it’s very, really good. You make a pot of coffee and then. We walk around in the space while in the moment, like queued, just like everyone else. It’s cute. And swarm, we start smelling everything the way it’s creating these sensory experiences with like the most, um, uh, the most organic and real, uh, elements to even go. Oh, I remember that sometimes. It’s, those are hard to do. So we have this incredible, um, company Fearman Niche who is a scent, is a, it’s a fragrance and flavor company that actually creates these. Uh, and now they have they’ll have that. They have New York office. There are a very, very renowned, uh, um,
Lauren C: That is so cool. I that’s like amazing. And they have a New York office. That’s so brilliant. How many stage stage crew stage hands where were doing this?
Carlos Armesto: Two.
Lauren C: They were amazing. They literally were amazing. Wow. I mean, they were everywhere. I smelled every single thing. I mean, it was right.
Carlos Armesto: Amazing, amazing. But the hope that we, we even though were wearing masks, you still walked it in and it’s, it’s the way we, we, we, we, we spread it around with, um, various means, but the coffee smell is that we actually walked through the space and we just make sure at that moment, everyone smelling the coffee and we do it in both languages. So in Spanish and English, it’s cute in the same way. So that at that same moment, boom, you are.
Lauren C: I love that. It really was, it was so awesome. And it really did feel like you were there. And now the story itself is obviously what I found to be so beautiful. And you helped write the story. So how, how did you come up with this?
Carlos Armesto: Well, well, I mean, it it’s, it was a big process. When, uh, a representative from the company came to, to talk to me about, uh, uh, uh, they wanted to bring their work here to New York, translate it created here. And, uh, , who’s our partner now to create pitch-black immersive experiences. And, um, uh, the company really wanted to, they’ve been doing this for 15 years and they wanted to have a repertory here.Uh, so I went down to experience what this thing was.
They were amazing. It’s just that the concept was, oh, you’re not seeing anything. And you’re kind of freaked out when you first go in. But, but it wasn’t a blindfolded thing. I mean, the way we want to do it, eventually, it’s the way they’re doing it down there. It’s you walk into a pitch black room and you don’t see anything, not even the exit signs you sit and then the actors move in the space live. So you won’t be hearing them on headsets. Experiencing story around them. Right. And, um, uh, you, you, you feel that experience. So the difficulty is that, you know, when, when we were going to do this here in New York, what happened? So we had to adjust to, um, uh, this kind of format. Uh, but, um, the story itself came up when I, when I went down there and I experienced all of their plays and I was, these plays are so Argentina. They won’t work as translated material here in New York.
Just need particularly train change the wordings of . It won’t work. Um, and the references now what we would do, we should create a completely new piece because we’re creating a joint venture between two companies from two different continents. We should create what that is. The whole sense was. Okay. What does. What if there’s a, I said to him, we have to justify the fact that it’s in the dark prime, New York is experiencing this business. Um, uh, this kind of work. Why is it the dark? Because they, um, they’ve been doing this 15 years, so everybody knows them in Argentina. They know that the concept, but not here so we can justify it. And so I, and they said, okay, what if it’s a blind? He came up Martine, the artistic director and the writer, uh, was , okay, why don’t we make it about a blind guy. Who’s living his life and we’re experiencing mean he’s a musician and he’s coming from New York and coming over here and he lived in New York and we have the New York series. And that’s how we that’s how it all
Lauren C: oh, I got chills and it’s so funny just because I want everyone to know what I’m talking about and what I’m feeling so well, really. And also was it expensive to make because like the headset you guys gave us was so it felt so high tech. And so they’re not just earbuds.Right. We get in and we get this fancy headset.
Carlos Armesto: Yeah. Yeah. Well, it’s, it’s not, it’s not as expensive as you might think. Yeah. I mean, Well, and this, for this iteration, there is no actors present. So here they’re hurting everybody. Everyone’s getting paid of course, and everything that it’s a different, the technology is very easily accessible. It’s just the, the, the surround sound experience is something that’s new and that’s the cool part.
Lauren C: Yeah, that’s what it was. It was like the surround sound and just, it was, oh yeah, it was crazy. Now I was actually kind of scared for a second because it did feel like things are right behind me, but now there’s also, um, there’s also a take home kit for this, for if you, people are scared of Omicron and they just don’t feel comfortable going out to the theater, they can take a kit home?
Carlos Armesto: Yes. Exactly cool. Wow. You can purchase, you can purchase the experience. That was the first thing that we did after we had to stop. Yeah. We created the box experience during the pandemic so that you would purchase this box, that the sensory elements, the smell, the taste, the feelings, all of that, and it’s delivered to you. It also has a boarding pass that you scan the QR code, and then that gives you access to the recording and you listen to. With any kind of headsets you want. Yeah. That was around sound experience with any headset.
Lauren C: That is so awesome. I actually would buy that for people just because if they don’t live here, it’s so fun. Now, Carlos, is there anything else that you want people to know about this show and why they should go see.
Carlos Armesto: Yeah, I actually it’s it. The box is actually a nice Valentine’s day gift because it’s a love story. The whole thing is a beautiful love story. Uh, and, um, definitely something to experience. Yes. I, I didn’t even think about that. It is a love story. So if you don’t have Valentine’s day plans and you want to stay in, you can order a box or you can go out to the theater. Am I right? There you go. Well, Carlos odd man out. Thank you so much for your time. And I hope everyone has a chance to experience this.
Thank you so much. I’m very so to have you talking about it and to just have people are experiencing it now because it’s, it’s impacting a lot of people. I’m very happy.
Lauren C:Thank you. Good. Thank you so much.