A sprawling old Oak Bluffs summer house underwent a Halloween weekend transformation in Rizing, an immersive, intimate and spooky new piece by Island dancer-choreographers Abby Bender and Jesse Jason with more than a dozen collaborating performers.

This is the third site-responsive production from the team of Ms. Jason, formerly the Yard’s longtime director of educational and community programs; Ms. Bender, who founded the Built on Stilts annual dance festival at Union Chapel, just across the street from where the weekend performances took place; and the other artists in their occasional troupe.

The first collaboration was (Un)Exquisite Corpse, a wide-ranging romp across the grounds of the Martha’s Vineyard Museum in Vineyard Haven over Halloween weekend in 2020, with a circle-singing mummy, stand-up vampire comics, a chilling Lady Macbeth and a corps of dancing zombies. 

In May of this year, Ms. Bender, Ms. Jason and Lisa Gross presented the more psychological ThRough, a meditation on pandemic life that roamed in and around a private West Tisbury home as audience members followed along outside.

In Rizing, the creators again used recorded dialogue and music to accompany their costumed dances and tableaus, this time bringing the audience inside to share the performers’ space in room after room of the rambling wooden house.

Site specific performance could accommodate only small audiences, but with big impact. — Ray Ewing

On Friday, Saturday and Sunday evening, small audiences of eight people per show were led to the home from Ocean Park, on an ostensible real estate tour with “Trish from Zillow,” played by Ms. Bender with Texas twang, agent-of-the-year sashay and face mask reading SOLD!

Pausing by a sign on the door that read Zizzner’s Home for Tired Travelers, ticketholders heard a recorded litany of instructions: Follow the guides from room to room, standing or sitting where tape marks indicate. Close each door once everyone is through. Stay with your group.

Passing through the door, audience members entered the dreamy world of a rest home for insomniacs where everyone’s name begins with Z and sleep remains elusive.

Recorded narrations told of the house’s history and the inmates’ pasts and pastimes, as masked dancers in long white nightgowns and pajamas moved through the rooms, across the furniture and over the stairs.

As their caretakers, Zora and the Zipper, Ms. Jason and Ms. Bender wore starched uniforms and masks reading ZZZZ.

Without abandoning their love of visual and verbal puns, rhymes, wordplay and just plain wackiness — cats and zucchinis were minor themes — Ms. Bender and Ms. Jason also brought forth more serious tales.

From Built on Stilts creator to scare maestro. — Ray Ewing

A tender same-sex love story set in one bedroom struck an elegiac, Spoon River Anthology note, while a flat-out horror sequence saw a pair of hands in clean white gloves with eyes drawn on them become more frightening than the bloodiest jump scare.

Kitchens — the house has three — windows, porches and a bathroom provided set-piece vignettes, some unsettling, others strangely exuberant.

Night terror made its appearance in the form of a voluptuous, green-fringed bed monster. Colliding film projections on a stairwell briefly verged on Revolution #9 territory.

Without giving away the startling end to the Zizzner’s story, Friday’s first-show audience had to catch its breath before applauding the 13 performers during their curtain call on the long porch.

With all three of their experiential shows, the Bender-Jason collaborative has been redefining dance theatre for the pandemic era, and audiences are taking note: Rizing sold out rapidly.

While no further performances are scheduled at this time, Ms. Bender has announced the summer 2022 Built on Stilts festival dates at builtonstilts.org.