Crash Course

October 9, 2012 9:00 am

Putting yourself in a terrifying situation can be cathartic — the benefit of shark cage dives, haunted houses, and pregnancy scares everywhere.

Taking that premise to airplane crashes: Charlie Victor Romeo, a riveting theatre performance based on black box transcripts from real-life emergencies, selling tickets to brave and curious souls right now.

Only performed once in NYC every four years, Charlie Victor Romeo — aviation lingo for cockpit voice recorder — is what they call a “performance documentary.”

Charlie Victor Romeo

You enter a dark theater. You’re reminded to buckle your seat belt. Then a phrase appears on a screen. “Bird strike.” Or “icing.” Then suddenly you’re inside a cockpit, watching rapt and helpless as pilots, officers, and crew re-enact, word-for-black boxed-word, the last minutes of doomed flights.

There are cockpit alarms, glowing emergency lights, and the sound of twisting metal. The play is so real it’s been used by the Pentagon for pilot training.

The disasters include everything from a ‘96 Aeroperu flight that lost all altimeter readings while flying through 1am fog over the Atlantic (all were lost); to a ‘95 American Airlines plane that crashed through a forest (everyone lived).

Better get your tickets quickly — there’s a limited number of showings before Charlie Victor Romeo, like a blip on the radar screen, vanishes.

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