Think BIG! Theater to host Halloween play fused with escape room
Director Jason Forella and writer/theater co-founder Shawn Thorgensen prepare for Think BIG’s second-ever endeavor in adult programming with a Halloween play/escape room.


Think BIG! Theater to host Halloween play fused with escape room


This October will be the second time the mainly children-focused Think BIG! Theater Arts will be offering an adult-targeted show. It won’t be gory or physically scary, but it will be physiologically creepy.

“The horror is much more on a physiological level,” said writer and theater co-founder Shawn Thorgensen. “It’s creepy and makes you think a little bit. It haunts the mind.”

The first adult show was a romantic comedy. The second, Thorgersen’s “In Pieces,” is part play, part escape room for ages 13 and up.

“We have been trying to branch out. We are paying rent and have our nights open with nothing going on,” said Thorgensen of the idea to expand out to the adult audience, while also helping to pay the bills for the nonprofit organization. “We pride ourselves on doing as many original and unusual works as possible, shows that have never been seen before and you can’t see anywhere else.”

The play/part escape room begins with a host who alerts the audience of a killer on the loose, informing them that their job is to find the killer and password to escape safely. The audience, according to Thorgensen, is in control and their answers and password determine the ending. All shows can be different and actors must memorize four possible outcomes.

“It takes place in an anxious town where terrible things are happening,” he added, noting each scene is a small, intertwined skit, similar to “The Twilight Zone,” something he watched as part of his writing process back in May and June. “Each one is tied together with hints that help the audience find the killer and password.”

Brendan Noble, Patchogue resident and local actor, will be playing three characters. He said working on the play/part escape room has been a challenge for the seasoned actor, being that it is such a unique concept and the roles never existed outside the script. 

Director Jason Forella is charged with interpreting Thorgensen’s work and helping the actors achieve maximum creepiness. He said he had each of his four actors — two seasoned Long Islanders, one student and another newcomer/dancer — prepare for the scenes by thinking back to what their characters were doing minutes, hours and days before.

“Going back to what led them into this situation goes beyond words on a page and gave life to it,” Forella explained of his process. “It’s a realistic and seamless way of getting that spooky, suspenseful thriller vibe without having to go over the top. There are a couple of scenes that are just downright scary.”


Tickets can be purchased at the door for $20 or reserved by calling the lobby at 631-307-4042. Dates: Oct. 18, 19, 25 and 26 at 8 p.m. and Oct. 27 at 7 p.m. Each show accommodates about 40 people.

The show is an hour and 20 minutes with a 15-minute usable intermission. (Thorgensen suggests guests utilize that time to go over the clues and take some notes before Act 2.)

“Intermission is usually a time to go to the bathroom, get a drink and have some chips, but you should probably be taking some notes. It gives you a second to think about the clues before more puzzle pieces come,” he said. “This whole show takes the traditional parts of theater and toys with it.”

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