Interactive, theatrical ‘Boxed Experience’ digs deep into social issues

Chicago Scene

CHICAGO — Boxed Experience is a completely interactive, theatrical experience unique to the Chicago area.

Located in the Roosevelt Collection Shops in the South Loop, it welcomes visitors through a series of realistic rooms and map projections. Organizers hope to bring to life the emotional toll individuals undergo when symbolically put “in a box” — either for their age, orientation, race, ethnicity, and so on.

Marcus Rashard is the creator.

“We really jump right into the action because we focus on seven social issues; LGBTQ awareness, women’s equality, persons with disability, racism, colorism, mental health awareness, and mass incarceration,” he said. “It gets real deep real fast.”

The authentic props used in Boxed Experience

He said to think of it as an involved experience of playing the game Clue or watching a crime drama or a John Grishman novel — all wrapped up in a 90-minute theatrical production. Live actors bring the characters to life, interacting with guests along the way.

“We’re not pushing an agenda,” Rashard said. “We’re not trying to tell individuals anything but think outside the box, hence the name Boxed Experience.”

Rashard created this experience to shed light on the various barriers among different cultures, ethnicities and social issues. The exhibit aims to shift mindsets and take visitors through patterns of different thinking, evidence that will alter your thoughts on innocence or guilt, often times collaborating with fellow visitors as strangers, finishing up the evening as friends.

To learn more about Boxed Experience, click here.

For more Chicago Scene fun, follow @tomwgnchicago on Instagram.

The subtle messaging in the bodega

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