When people ask me what shadowing/ethnography is I usually think/reply that it is like going to a party in which a lot is happening, lighting is dark, you do not know anybody and you are trying to understand who is interested on who, what are the most popular drinks and what kind of jokes are deemed acceptable.
Now there is a more interesting way to explain it – we just need to ask people go to an immersive theater experience as the “Sleep No More” play in NYC.
Sleep No More tells the story of Macbeth, though the audience is given no programme and there is no speaking from either the actors or audience. The actors (unlike the audience members) wear no masks and perform in passionate, silent, group settings; solitary scenes; and, sometimes, choreographed dances. Audience members are instructed to remain silent and masked at all times once they have boarded the hotel's elevator up until the time they return to the Manderley Bar; however, they may move freely at their own leisure for up to three hours, choosing where to go and what to see, so that everyone’s journey is unique; they may also exit the premises at any point. Audience members may thus follow one or any of the actors throughout the performance, or they may independently explore the many rooms of the building; in groups or alone. The audience is also encouraged to investigate by opening drawers, examining the numerous written diaries, letters, and other props found throughout the set. Recorded music plays steadily throughout the building at all times.