Anaesthetically pleasing: ‘Ketamine the Musical’ opens in Bushwick

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It’s a K-hole new world!

A psychedelic new musical opening soon in Bushwick will drop audiences into the mind of a drug-addled anaesthetic user. The director of “Ketamine: the Musical,” debuting Aug. 17 at Bushwick’s House of Yes, says that audiences are in for the trip of a lifetime.

“What we’re doing is a psychedelic, hyper-creative, hyper-weird, work of performance art,” said Anya Sapozhnikova, who is also the venue’s co-owner. “We want it to be a little dissociative, but it’s basically a circus and physical theater musical.”

The show will feature 12 high-flying acts, which together tell the story of one man’s scary, happy, and zonked-out experiences after he takes ketamine — an animal tranquilizer that has become a party drug notorious both for its psychedelic qualities and tendency to leave one jelly-legged. House of Yes shows typically let the audience move around, but for this 75-minute show viewers will be seated “because obviously you can’t stand on ketamine.”

In one number, zombies in black hoodies will surround the main character, while singing and dancing about the dangers of ketamine. In another, rapper Sir Kn8 (wordsmith Nathan Ogelsby) will evoke the stoner logic of someone who discovers the meaning of life while whacked out of their gourd, revealing the acronym “YLALO” for “You Live At Least Once.”

“It belongs to the class of revelations that one might have in this drug-induced state where it takes on this other profundity,” he said. “But there does seem to be some kernel of truth in them.”

Sapozhnikova was inspired to create the show after overhearing someone joke about a wacky electronic music festival by exclaiming “What is this? Ketamine the musical?” She embraced the title, and hopes audiences will appreciate the absurdity of the show.

But she also hopes the trippy musical will create discussion about the drug and drug addiction.

“What I’m interested in doing is removing the shame and stigma around drug use because that’s what prevents people from getting help,” she said.

The show is definitely popular. “Ketamine: the Musical” has already sold out two performances, and has added a third on Aug. 19. Sapozhnikova is considering extending the run, but has not yet made a final decision.

“Ketamine: the Musical” at House of Yes (2 Wyckoff Ave. at Jefferson Street in Bushwick, Aug. 17–19 at 8 pm. $30–$40.

Reach reporter Lauren Gill at or by calling (718) 260–2511. Follow her on Twitter @laurenk_gill
Updated 1:00 pm, August 3, 2016
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