28.

You Will Attend a Theater for One

It’s called You Me Bum Bum Train and it’s the most fun—and most therapeutic—experience you could have in 2015.

By Naomi Alderman

You Me Bum Bum Train has a very silly title that sounds like a Portuguese man propositioning you for anal sex. I don’t know why I say Portuguese — could be Dutch or Pashto. It sounds like a broken English bumsex proposition is what I’m saying.

I suspect that they keep the silly title because if they called it anything that communicated how utterly amazing it is, they’d be even more deluged with requests for tickets than they are already. I feel bad for bigging it up: Their entire run sold out in eight minutes last time.

London’s YMBBT is what they call “theater for an audience of one,” which sounds a bit frightening. Or “immersive theater,” which these days seems to mean standing in the dark being shouted at by someone wearing a weird hat.

Imagine this instead: You climb through a cupboard and find yourself in a boardroom, about to chair a shareholder meeting. You do brilliantly. After a few minutes, an aide leads you up some stairs and suddenly you’re the lead detective examining a crime scene. Somehow, you know just what to say. One of the police officers leads you through a wine cellar and then you’re on a live TV chat show being asked about your latest book. You make the host and audience laugh and laugh.

Everyone else in each of these scenes is in on it. You cannot fail. You feel that maybe you could fly if you really tried. It’s like the best crazy dream you’ve ever had, that one you wake up from thinking, “Yes, I am okay, yes, I can do more than I thought.” It’s self-help in art form. It should be available by prescription.

Naomi Alderman is the author of the novel The Liars’ Gospel.

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