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Immersive Theatre at Its Finest: Dive into The Stacks Experience

Ben Gougeon
Marc Zyla
Ben Gougeon

In this episode, we dive into the world of immersive theatre with an exclusive interview with Ben Gougeon, the director of the upcoming production, The Stacks. The Stacks is a thrilling show set in the historic Moline Library building, now transformed into The Sound Conservatory. Taking inspiration from a real-life unsolved murder that occurred in 1927, the play follows a present-day investigator who delves into the mysteries of the library stacks.

Listeners will be captivated as Ben shares the unique elements of this immersive experience. The entire three floors of the library building are utilized, with different scenes and characters unfolding simultaneously in various locations. As audience members explore the space, they become active participants in the story, uncovering clues and hidden details expertly embedded within the library props and books by art director Dominic Ramirez.

We also get introduced to the talented cast of eight local actors, including Kira Rangel, who plays the lead investigator. Ben reveals the intricate process behind the creation of the show, working closely with playwright Alexander Richardson to craft interweaving scripts and storylines for each character. The planning involved in coordinating the precise timing and locations of each character throughout the performance is truly remarkable.

During the interview, Ben shares his theater background, starting from his days in community theater to studying at Western Michigan University and Western Illinois University. He also discusses his transition from being a professional actor in New York to moving to the Quad Cities in 2019. Currently working at Quad City Arts, Ben sheds light on some exciting upcoming events, including a performance by hip hop artist Amirah Sackett.

Throughout the conversation, it becomes evident that The Stacks is an experience that begs to be revisited multiple times, as each visit promises to unveil new layers of the intriguing mystery. We conclude the interview by expressing our gratitude for Ben's artistic contributions to the community and eagerly anticipating the arrival of The Stacks.

Marc Zyla joined WVIK, Quad Cities NPR in May 2022 as the Director of Community Engagement. Prior to that Zyla had been the Director of Education and Community Engagement with the Quad City Symphony Orchestra, where he continues to perform as Principal Horn. Zyla believes that there is something for everyone in public radio and brings passion and creativity to his position as Director of Community Engagement.