Immersive theater presents unique challenges for the actors. There may be stretches when no one is watching them, but they have to remain in character, in case an audience member walks in.
“You can’t break character. There’s no offstage,” said Meredith Saran of Waltham, who plays a Siamese twin.
Adapting Strindberg’s words to a physical performance was tricky, Watkins said. “A Dream Play” is about the illusion of life, and time is not linear, characters are not concrete, and things happen that could never happen in real life.
“The audience should feel like they don’t know where they’re at, like they’re in a dream,” Watkins said.
A couple of actors are instructed to interact with audience members, but most are told to ignore interruptions, Watkins said. The audience can’t influence the course of the plot; they can only influence their own experience of the “dream.”
The actors come from all walks of life. They are student, professional and recreational actors from all over Greater Boston. Several are Watkins’s theater students from Eastern Nazarene College, where she has taught for three years.
Allison Tucker is a recent Eastern Nazarene graduate. She, like most of the actors, is performing in experimental theater for the first time — and loving it.
“There’s always a time and place for the remake of classics,” she said. “But now is the time for new. Every other aspect of Bostonian culture is new, why shouldn’t theater be?”
“. . . Or Dreaming” is at the Quincy YMCA Friday through Sunday this weekend and next weekend. Entrance times are 7:30, 7:45, and 8 p.m. The production is appropriate for ages 13 and older. Tickets are $20 for adults and $18 for students, and must be purchased in advance at www.pariahtheatre.com. Visit www.boston.com/quincy to see more photos from a Pariah Theatre Company rehearsal.
Emily Files can be reached at emily.files@globe- com.