3:04 pm EDT, August 25, 2020

‘Seize the Show’ presents an opportunity to be immersed in a superhero story

By Irvin K

If you’ve always wanted to be a part of a superhero story, you now have the chance!

For the last few months, Seize the Show has been using Zoom for good, not evil, by entertaining folks stuck at home with choose-your-own-adventure shows. They use their patented Gamiotics technology to let viewers make key choices through a website (pulled up on a second screen) during the show, which then informs how the show progresses.

Whatever a viewer’s genre preferences, Seize the Show has probably crafted a half-hour show for them since April: they’ve done everything from murder mysteries to comedy thrillers. Right now, they still perform Don’t Trust the Internet on Fridays, a quiz show where some contestants get to compete for a prize.

But they just started their most ambitious endeavor yet: a superhero story called Empowered. For those folks (like this writer) who already miss Agents of SHIELD and Arrow, to say nothing of all the superhero movies we should have been watching this summer, here’s a chance to be a part of a superhero story!

Right now, the first hour-long installment of Empowered is being performed, called Empowered: An Origin Story. It hits the familiar story beats: you and your friends are scientists working in a lab, when something goes awry, and you all get powers. You then choose whom to trust and whose advice to follow, whether you wish to work within the system or as a vigilante, and how to protect a very valuable hard drive.

The story beats are familiar, but it’s a very engaging experience because “you” are the main character… if you are always wondering “what would I do?” when watching Marvel movies, now’s your chance to decide once and for all!

A game cast of six sell the performance, with enough conviction that one soon forgets about the Zoom backgrounds that serve as scenery. Jacob Thompson is the energetic M.C., prompting the audience to make choices. The highlight of Empowered: An Origin Story is Kim Morgan Dean as Diaphana, a vigilante with the superpower of talking to animals, who chews the virtual scenery and delivers campy lines with a fervor to make the CW proud.

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What sells the show is its self-aware humor: expect pop culture references and jokes in the script, exactly of the sort people would make if they found themselves in a superhero story.  Think The Flash’s Cisco at his sassiest! The four writers here have penned an exceedingly clever show, and director/producer David Carpenter keeps things moving such that this writer was quite surprised when an hour was already up. And they truly make the most of Zoom’s technological tricks to create the superpowers we see, turning the format from encumbrance to advantage.

But the most exciting part of all is that Seize the Show will be creating a serialized choose-your-own-adventure out of Empowered! The most popular choices made across An Origin Story’s several performances will then inform the story taking place in future installments. In this way, viewers really get to impact not just the hour-long show they’re watching, but a lengthy story they’ll be engaging with for a long time to come. This writer can’t wait to see what happens in Episode 2!

Empowered: An Origin Story is being performed regularly through the end of August for free; after that, there will be a small price to pay to watch it through TodayTix. For more information, visit Seize the Show’s website.

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