Shatternight takes you on a journey through First Landing, a city rife with corruption and injustice. Roberta Right is a valiant but long-suffering detective, mourning the murder of a loved one and struggling with a decrepit police department. Her world will be upturned one fateful night as she comes against malevolent forces beyond comprehension.


As guests enter, they will find themselves in a recreation of 1980s First Landing, bearing both fresh wounds and scars from a century of pollution and crime. Far from alone, the guests will encounter the inhabitants of the city, from the intrepid Detective Right to the murderous Antonio Corazon, and other mysterious characters. Guests will be able to freely explore various locations of First Landing, ranging from the murky local police department to the smoky Club Ciego, a haven for the just and unjust alike. Immerse yourself in this city of another world, and follow in the literal footsteps of any character you wish. If you are lucky, they may have words with you as well.


We plan to stage this immersive theatre event in the historic Doheny Memorial Library of the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. This will be an InterArts event, combining art forms from numerous disciplines: visual art, music, dance, theatre, film and design. We plan to bring together students from all of the visual and performing arts departments at USC to collaborate on this genre-bending interactive experience.


Taking place in mid to late Spring of 2019, this event will take months to prepare and rehearse. We plan to hold the event in 5 different spaces in the Doheny Library, using the building’s beautiful and thought-provoking spaces to augment the production. We plan to have set designers and artists from the Roski School, dancers from Kaufman playing the lead parts, and filmmakers from the Cinema School not only creating installations in the set, but also filming the experience. We have already contracted a Thornton DMA composer to create the innovative, ambient electronic score that will bind production together, and inquiries for assistance and counsel from the various USC schools are already underway.


This production has the potential not only the bring together artists from all over USC and the Los Angeles area to create and perform in ab interdisciplinary, immersive arts piece, but also to start a movement to create productions in which audiences can find their own unique way to interact with the art and artists.


A. Timeline

Summer 2018 | Planning Stage

  • Find space
  • Finalize script, score
  • Recruit artists

Fall 2018 | Pre-production

  • Finalize script, score
  • Design set

Spring 2018 | Production

  • Begin rehearsals
  • Performance week
  1. Performance week details:
    1. Performances (2 evenings)

      1. Performances will each be 2 hours long, starting at [8:00 or 9:30?]

        1. 2 hours after 1st performance for set reset

        2. 3 hours after 2nd performance for set teardown

    2. Tech Rehearsals (3 days)

    3. Set-up (2 days)

B. spaces

  1. 5 spaces needed:

    1. [Stacks]

      1. Modified to resemble a First Landing Police Station, including stacks of criminal documents, period telephone and radio, desk, lamp, and chair.

      2. Modified to resemble a typical but ransacked and deserted First Landing apartment, including bed, table, chairs, assorted clothing, and sink.

      3. Modified to resemble generic streets of First Landing. Minimal changes needed: floor altered with “traffic barriers”, posters for ambience.

    2. [Conference Room]

      1. Modified to resemble Club Ciego, a First Landing lounge / recreational establishment. Includes tables, chairs, bar, and stage.

    3. [Doheny Lobby]

      1. Modified to resemble a First Landing subway station. Minimal changes needed: floor altered with “safety barriers”, posters typically associated with public transit.

C. Safety/security

  1. ID required for library entry (USC policy)

  2. Request USC DPS to be on call should their assistance be necessary

  3. General screening for prohibited materials such as weapons, food/drink, and other potentially disruptive items

D. Signage (patron control)

  1. Signs posted at all entrances and exits of Doheny, informing library patrons of the specific hours and affected areas of the event

  2. Signs at the perimeter boundaries of the event’s affected areas, inviting guests to enter, but also requesting lower levels of noise and disturbance

  3. Signs at non-affected areas indicating freedom to use the library unimpeded by the event.

  4. Signs at various locations warning library patrons of potential disturbances as caused by the event (including loud noises, sudden and/or quick movements, etc.)

E. Sound

  1. Controlled ambient sound in each of the 5 spaces, evoking the atmosphere and mood of various First Landing locations

  2. Additional sound in adjoining hallways, stairwells, and elevators

  3. Controlled via Bluetooth and/or other wireless options

F. Lighting (both additional and removed)

  1. Ceiling lights will be dimmed in primary areas of production.

  2. LED mood lighting will be used in performance and transit areas, both to enhance production atmosphere as well as minimize effect to library resources.

G. Clean-Up

  1. Removal of elements of set design, such as excess furniture, posters, and signage.

  2. Removal of debris, including scattered pieces of the set such as papers or clothing.

  3. Inspection of general area for debris left by patrons, such as discarded programs and other waste materials.

H. Attendance/personnel presence*

*(amount of people walking around, setting things up, taking up spaces, etc.)

  1. Expected audience attendance: 100-150 each performance

  2. Production personnel: 15-20 (2 for each performance space, 5-10 additional production/safety staff)

i. Marketing/Fundraising

  1. Website


  2. Facebook event page

  3. USC Thornton, Roski, Kaufman, Cinema School email blasts

  4. Kickstarter

  5. Guerilla marketing via posters, flyers, and word-of-mouth

  6. Radio and online advertising

  7. Daily Trojan

  8. Undergraduate and Graduate Student Governments

J. Faculty Contacts

  1. Ken Foster - Arts Leadership

  2. Andrew Justice - Head of Music Library

  3. William Forsythe - Kaufman School of Dance

  4. Nao Bustamante - Roski School of Art and Design

K. Follow-up

  1. Consultation with library staff and faculty on the efficacy of the event and ways future events can be improved

  2. Informal polling of audience for reactions, comments, and opinions, including interest in seeing additional events and/or revisiting Doheny, and increased interest in library spaces, resources, and events.

  3. Documentation of process in service of larger application for Visions and Voices 2020-2021.


a. Themes (with examples)

  1. Police corruption

    1. The First Landing Police Department has been infiltrated by members of the mob, directly leading to sharp rise in obstruction and miscarriage of justice, abuse of force, and other breaches of ethical/moral code.

  2. Discrimination (sexual and homophobic)

    1. Detective Roberta Right is discriminated against by other members of her profession for both her gender and sexuality, infringing on both her rights as a law-abiding citizen as well as unfairly impeding her abilities to fulfill the requirements of her job.

  3. Criminality

    1. First Landing has the large, active, and poorly-controlled presence of organized crime, leading to large sectors of both public and private life to be under constant harassment and fear of job and safety.

  4. Existential fear

    1. In addition to her practical and grounded concerns, Roberta Right is also besieged by various forces beyond her comprehension, originating from both ordinary and supernatural sources. These negatively affect her in powerful ways, exposing reasonable vulnerabilities despite her otherwise extensive abilities and commendable traits of personality.

B. Artistic mediums and schools involved

  1. Roski School of Art and Design

    1. Art installations will be created and placed at various spaces of Doheny in order to recreate the atmosphere and environment of First Landing.

    2. Artists will be encouraged to design pieces that reflect not only the outer veneer of First Landing, but also the thematic content of Shatternight as a whole. Possibilities for accomplishing this include reference specific events from both Zenkora-canon First Landing history as well as non-fiction real life history.

  2. Thornton School of Music

    1. A comprehensive adaptive soundtrack will be composed by Michael Krikorian, a DMA-alumni of Thornton. The music will:

      1. Recreate the ambient atmosphere and mood of First Landing specific to the Shatternight event.

      2. Be specific to the various locations represented therein, allowing for a more powerful sense of immersion.

      3. Allow displaced actors/dancers to follow time-sensitive cues without direct or explicit communication with crew or one another.

  3. Kaufman School of Dance

    1. Dancers will take on the roles and personalities of various Shatternight characters. They will travel from location to location performing their scripted actions in a stylized manner, occasionally reciting lines to both other actor-dancers as well as select guests when prompted.

  4. USC School of Cinematic Arts

    1. Filmmakers will document the process of the Shatternight production, both during the development and preparation stages as well as the ultimate performances.

    2. Filmmakers will be encouraged to put special emphasis on the unique and precious elements of the Doheny Library so as to increase public awareness, recognition, and appreciation for Library assets and resources.

    3. The combined products of filmmakers’ efforts will be used for the future benefit of both Doheny Library and Zenkora Studios, particularly as documented evidence of the successes/weaknesses of the Shatternight production.

  5. USC School of Dramatic Arts

    1. Roles that put a lesser emphasis on dance can be filled by Dramatic Arts students. Of particular importance are the “attendants”, a specific subgroup of personnel responsible for maintaining performer and guest safety, and maintaining order in disorienting spaces.

    2. Dramatic Writing MFA candidate Mariana Carreño King will be retained as a script and directing consultant.

C. Larger context

Q. Why are we doing this?

A. Zenkora is a collective of artists and writers from around the globe working on telling a story together. We use all different mediums of art, and all genres of storytelling. This is project will be Zenkora’s formal introduction to Los Angeles, our headquarters in the most creative city in world.


Q. What are our goals?

A. We believe that this production will not only spur further interest and participation in the Zenkora story, but will also bring most attention to what we firmly believe is the future of the arts: unique, immersive experiences that allow audiences to find their own story in the art.