Melissa ’13andit’ Schlesinger
The Railcar is an art installation of a train, built from recycled materials, housed in a small studio in the Flat Iron Arts Building in Wicker Park, Chicago. It is an active escape game with a post-apocalyptic story line (taking place after Chicago’s Second Fire) wherein a ‘genius maniac has rigged [the] train with clues and puzzles and riddles all around’. In the story that ‘genius maniac’ is a misguided activist trying to prove a point, but the IRL living human being responsible for the design and execution of the experience was Melissa Schlesinger. Folding together her training as a scene designer, carpenter, sound designer, programmer, and actor with her interest in robotics, automation, mechanics, and immersive environments, The Railcar pushed the boundaries of Melissa’s skills to new limits. After building and establishing Escape Artistry as Chicago’s first home-grown escape game company, they were given the opportunity to expand and have since built 5 more games, right down the street, at a time travel facility called the Time Gallery. Home to a curated collection of training missions where players are invited to exhibit their wit, the Time Gallery gave Melissa the chance to hone her newly acquired skills as a game and puzzle designer. In the wake of the creation of these games, Melissa has grown exponentially as an artist, a leader, and a person.
Melissa “13andit” Schlesinger is a multi-disciplinary creative mercenary specializing in MacGyvering and magic. With the the power of storytelling as fuel, Melissa seeks out artistic endeavors that inspire audiences to improve their reality. She thrives in the development of imaginative new worlds for the stage, galleries, events, haunts, room escape games, and on screen. Melissa is the Lead Designer and a founding member of Escape Artistry, home to a showcase of her sonic, scenic, and puzzling interactive environments. A third generation artist, Melissa studied Theatre Production and Studio Art at Bradley University.