We played Ralph Breaks VR at The Void at the mall location in Glendale California. This experience is amazing. It’s an interactive game where you become a cartoon character in the world from the animated feature Ralph Breaks the Internet. Even though the world is virtual, you do actually interact with physical items and walk throughout the space. It’s really incredible. I went in thinking it would be an escape room like the other virtual escape rooms we had played previously at other companies, but was not disappointed even though it is absolutely NOT an escape room. You are playing a game and you can compete against the other players. It is a wonderfully fun and immersive VR experience. The staff was very professional and friendly at this location. I highly recommend it.
For only a small $5 up charge to your fair admisssion you can walk among 40 life sized realistic animatronic dinosaurs. It pretty darn cool! I know they aren’t actually real dinosaurs (except for a few live creatures on display such as an emu, alligator and tortoise), but they seem pretty real if you let your imagination run wild. I found myself wanting to pet them and at one point talking in “baby talk” to a few adorable animatronic baby dinos.
I really enjoyed Jurrasic Planet and wanted to share it here. I also recorded a bit of my experience which you can watch from YouTube below.
CHAPTER 3 – THE DOOR
You know a show is gonna be great when it sells out in 3 hours and it was amazing. Please note that this review contains spoilers. Expect all three chapters to go into production again this year, so if you’d like to experience the show without any prior knowledge then I recommend you do not continue reading.
Full Cast (left to right) Matthew Bamberg- Johnson as Phil Daring, Nora King as Dorothy Gale, John Henningsen as Lyman, John McCormick as Oscar Diggs (The Wizzard), Genevieve Gearhart as Phoebe Daring
My husband and I arrived and were escorted to a porch-like area to meet with Lyman along with another couple. We spoke with him about the themes of each chapter so far. Chapter 1 was about hope, Chapter 2 opportunity and Chapter 3 the future. The five of us discussed the difference between destiny and inevitable consequence. Within a few minutes the wizard entered to escort us into the house. He inquired as to whether we had brought our keys, as they were very important to what was to come.
Upon entering the house I couldn’t help but feel curious about those who resided there. It was so lived in, unlike what I have come to expect from a theatrical set. As we entered the living room we were introduced to Dorothy. We had our first decision to make. As a group we decided who she was. Then the wizard did a card reading where we each got involved. In an unexpected turn of events Phil and Phoebe/Ozma entered the room through a magical door. They took Dorothy back with them and we were sent on our way.
Overall the show was interesting and unique. The actors were absolutely amazing. It is a wonderfully fun way to be immersed in the retelling of these classic stories. I felt that even though Chapter 3 was the smallest audience per show, somehow it felt the least intimate. I really love what they are doing with The Kansas Collection though. I can’t wait for Chapter 4.
We’re off to see the Wizard, the wonderful Wizard of Oz…or are we?
It’s a choice. Make a choice. Should you or shouldn’t you see him? Either choice is a choice, so make a choice. The most beautiful thing about The Kansas Collection is the amount of choices you must make. Sometimes you may not even realize you are making them, but this theatrical event mirrors life in that way.
The Key is chapter one of The Kansas Collection. This was my first time experiencing Speakeasy Society’s work. I’d heard about it from all of my immersive theatre friends, so I had to check it out. I went in blind. I had no idea that the show had anything to do with the Wizard of Oz. Honestly, I didn’t even realize it was The Kansas Collection. I just knew everyone loved it and it had something to do with keys.
My husband and I attended the show together. We got our tickets online and eventually received the location in an email. Upon check-in I saw many familiar faces from the immersive theatre community waiting by the fire staying warm since the event took place outside and it a was chilly Los Angeles evening. Everyone was excited for the show and waiting their turn to be called back for their two person show. When Jeremiah and I were summoned to begin we first met with a vibrant character. (I would later find out his name is Lyman.) He set the mood by asking us questions and getting us involved. He then sent us into a tent to fill out a form. While completing our forms I asked the character Jo what the date was. He responded in a rather unusual way explaining that time works differently moving between Kansas and Oz. Then Jeremiah and I were sent in different directions to meet with our individual recruiters for the EC (Emerald City) to serve the Scarecrow King. I pledged my loyalty to the Scarecrow King. I didn’t just say the words, I meant them. I was told to be observant and avoid the man in the hat before being sent on my way back to the fire. I knew where the man in the hat was. I had seen other participants walking up to him and chatting. I wasn’t sure what to do. I talked with my friends for a bit and asked a few of them if they had been told not to speak to him or if I was “supposed to” anyway. Eventually with the encouragement of my friends I approached him hesitantly. I made that choice, even though I was told not to by my recruiter and had honestly pledged allegiance to the Scarecrow King. It was a moment of weakness. I received some information from him, waited while Jeremiah did the same and then we were off on another adventure.
I’ve only been involved in the immersive theatre community for the last year or so and in that time I’ve experienced a handful of immersive events. Some of them included alternate reality games that lasted months before the paid events, but none of them worked quite the same way as this unique form of storytelling. Speakeasy Society sets the bar for this particular form of interactive storytelling. I’ve never experienced anything quite like it. The shows are fairly short compared to traditional theatre, but incredibly impactful. They are separated into many chapters. Each chapter is another theatrical event moving the overall story forward. It’s brilliant. I was not only impressed with the format and execution of the theatrical piece, I thought the actors did an amazing job.
Overall I’m very impressed with Speakeasy Society and can’t wait to experience the upcoming chapters of The Kansas Collection.
What is the Black Matter Foundation? Is it real? Is it some sort of alternate reality game? Is it a promo for Half Life 3? Is it connected to Stranger Things?
These are just some of the questions I’ve been asked over the past few days. Honestly…I don’t know.
I won’t get into the information posted on their website, I’d rather you go there for that information. In this post I will share my personal experience so far.
7 pm Tuesday. I receive a Facebook message from my friend Matt asking if I saw the posts on the escape room Facebook group for Black Matter Foundation. I had not. Matt explained that a seemingly fake Facebook user named Edward Talbert had posted the link to the website in the group. However when I searched for “Edward Talbert” I was unable to find him. I did however find the Black Matter Foundation website, so I sent an email. I also started reaching out to my extreme haunt/ARG friends to see if anyone had heard about it. Nobody had.
Now I would like to pretend that I was clever and creative and sent a unique proposal or something fun, but in reality it was late, I was tired and just sent a wordy email blatantly asking “is this an ARG?”
I was pleasantly surprised to receive a quick and professional reply:
Thank you for taking the time to reach out to us, we appreciate your interest in our organization. Unfortunately due to the confidentiality of our work and the covert nature of our clients we are unable to disclose much information regarding our foundation.
However, we have found that individuals who retain the inquisitive nature you seem to possess often excel within our foundation. If you find the time we would love to have you come in to our testing campus, for a free no cost evaluation. Our foundation projects are well funded and will never ask for monetary compensation.
While we recognize that withholding information may not provide you with the answers you seek in entirety, we hope that you can see the bigger picture at play here. Please accept our apologies.
Black Matter Foundation
Needless to say I got a bit excited. I responded to them immediately and started blasting my Interactive theatre friends online with the website asking if anyone had heard about this. Nobody had. However, many of them also got interested and started crafting proposals to send to Black Matter Foundation via email.
A day passes.
Late Thursday night. Last email check before letting my phone slip out of my hand and crash on my face as I drift to sleep…or so I think. Nope. I see an email from Black Matter Foundation:
Thank you for your interest in Black Matter Foundation. We take pride in capturing the best and brightest minds alive. Testing will begin shortly, applications can now be submitted for those with an access code. We hope to be seeing you soon.
Black Matter Foundation
There is an audio attachment included in this email. Adrenaline kicks in and I’m wide awake “solving” the file. I aquire my password and use it to access an online questionnaire which I won’t go into depth about here because I don’t want to give away Spoilers for others wanting to participate. But I will say it was made up of fun, thought provoking questions. I submitted my answers.
I will admit it was a bit of a challenge to solve the audio file and complete the questions on my cell phone, especially since so many of my friends were pinging my phone through Facebook, Slack and Texts about, you guessed it, Black Matter Foundation.
When I checked on Tuesday I couldn’t really find anything online about it, however tonight I know many were discussing it on Reddit and Facebook.
I will be sure to post again when I find out more…hopefully after visiting the Testing Campus.
2:15am Friday. Posting Black Matter Foundation blog post.
Oh and check out this Craigslist ad:
Here are some of the unusual places and events I’ve attended in California. Click the link to read about my experience. Each blog post will include a link to the website for the “oddity” when possible so you may plan your own visit. These are listed in no particular order. If you have any questions feel free to tweet me @christinebarger
The Lust Experience
Have You Seen Jake (ARG & Interactive Theatre)
Recently I’ve gotten involved in the immersive theatre and alternate reality game (ARG) communities here in Los Angeles and I couldn’t find a good reference list anywhere, so I’m creating one. Please note some of these experiences are more intense than others.
This list of immersive theatre is in no particular order and should link you directly to each company’s website.