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‘Seeing You,’ ‘Ghost Light’ add variety to NYC’s immersive theater lineup

“Seeing You” runs at 450 W. 14th St. through Aug. 31, seeingyou.nyc. 3 Stars

“Ghost Light” runs at the Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center Plaza through Aug. 6, lct3.org. 2.5 Stars

It’s a big week for experimental immersive theater with the premiere of two elaborate new works, “Seeing You” and “Ghost Light,” from the producers of the breakout hit “Sleep No More” and the “Alice in Wonderland”-themed “Then She Fell,” respectively.

Compared with many other interactive shows in which audience members are free to individually roam about a large space (and in the case of the “Macbeth”-themed “Sleep No More,” multiple floors of a large warehouse), “Seeing You” and “Ghost Light” organize theatergoers into groups and direct where they walk and what they watch in an attempt to create narrative structure.

The hotblooded and sinister “Seeing You” (created by Randy Weiner and Ryan Heffington) transforms an empty former meat market in the Meatpacking District (located right under the High Line) into an anxious small community during World War II. The crowd observes (and occasionally takes part in) an air raid drill, combat training, a blood drive, a USO show and an atomic bomb-themed finale.

There are also small, emotionally charged scenes, which pop up suddenly, that highlight the racial tensions of the period as seen in an African-American male assigned to menial work in the army and a Japanese-American female whose allegiance is questioned. With background music, these scenes often shift from dialogue into expressive dance.

Far more subdued is “Ghost Light” (created by Third Rail Projects, presented by LCT3), in which the audience takes a backstage tour of the recently constructed Claire Tow Theater at Lincoln Center, which is made to resemble an old-fashioned playhouse. There they meet haunting spirits, including an aging diva, an obsessive actor, a lowly maintenance worker and a street-smart usher.

These characters provide intriguing tidbits about their lives and theatrical folklore, but their monologues often drag and lack focus. That being said, the show offers a rare opportunity to see the parts of a theater that are typically off-limits and unacknowledged work that goes into a production.

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