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iPhone Theater Performance Brings LES Love Story to the Streets

James Carter is creating a transmedia performance that will take an audience around the Lower East Side.
James Carter is creating a transmedia performance that will take an audience around the Lower East Side.
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DNAinfo/Serena Solomon

LOWER EAST SIDE — A Lower East Side love story told through an iPhone app is at the center of a walking tour and performance art piece about to kick off next month.

Playwright James Carter has raised more than $5,000 on the funding website Kickstarter to fund his project, NY_Hearts: LES, which uses audio recordings of actors, videos, images and an iPhone application to bring his theater performance onto the streets.

"It is part scavenger hunt, part love story, part walking tour," said Carter, 37, of Park Slope, whose performance will "take a story world and reveal it across multiple platforms."

The project is called transmedia because of the mix of genres, will be ready for a July 6th launch at the Brick Theaters Game Play Festival.

In the pre-recorded performance uploaded to the walking tour iPhone app Moveable Feast, Carter's character "Jill," whose character is a mixed-media and tattoo artist, talks to her boyfriend Sal on the anniversary of their first date.

"You get to step into Sal's shoes and take this tour," said Carter. Highlights of the tour include a visit to local businesses such as Yoga High on Clinton Street and the Fat Radish restaurant on Orchard Street, where the businesses offer value-added business perks like a free yoga class and a free meal as part of the cost of a $55 ticket.

"I wanted to incorporate businesses into it, particularly small businesses," Carter said.

Transmedia as art and in marketing has become a buzzword, according to Carter. As a storytelling tool, it uses different media platforms from images and videos to blogging and phone applications so an audience can have an interactive narrative without being tied to a location like a theater.

The trend has already hit the mainstream with HBO's series Game of Thrones and Bravo's Top Chef both having a transmedia experience along with their shows.

While the people can interact with the performance solo or with friends, Carter is eager to see what happens as audience members connect with each other through the shared experience.

"That would be wonderful to hear a year or two from now: 'I took your thing and I met my wife,'" said Carter, who has reached out to dating hubs to promote the project.

Carter is already planning other city neighborhoods to use as love-story sets, including Park Slope, Chelsea and Williamsburg. He is also mulling a plan to do a web series for characters created in the performance tours.

For Carter, the multiple platforms has just added another dimension to what he has always done — tell stories.

"I discovered that you could expand a story out beyond the theater," he said.

Update: Tickets for NY_Hearts are now on sale through the Brick Theater's website. The show will run from July 6 to 22.