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 2 – THE AXE
Who is the patchwork girl? Is it Dorothy? I assumed it was until I started reading L. Frank Baum’s The Patchwork Girl of Oz. Now I’m not so sure.
Now is a good time to say a huge THANK YOU to Speakeasy Society for introducing me to the entire series of books. I didn’t realize there were more after The Wonderful Wizard of Oz. The Kansas Collection inspired me to start reading them.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as we approached the location for the second chapter of The Kansas Collection. I could see patchwork quilts covering the walls as I exited the elevator. Lyman was chatting with guests in the lobby near the makeshift bar. Furniture was scattered about the large room. Some of the drawers were hiding secrets. As I explored I found many letters, song lyrics, a list and more.
I explored the area and chatted with friends until JinJur appeared summoning me and barking orders to get in line. My husband and I, along with another couple, followed her to a small room where she asked if we could be trusted. We were then asked who sent us and led into another area with a tent. Inside the tent we met a very upset Tin Man who no longer goes by the name Nick Chopper. His heartbreaking performance was superb. One of the characters then pulled me aside and threatened me for information which I was unable to give. My husband later told me that he didn’t even notice that happening to me because he was engaged in a secret conversation with the Tin Woodman. It’s amazing how Speakeasy Society manages to give each person their own unique experience even while we are only feet apart in the same room. I think this says a lot about the quality and effectiveness of the storytelling and the performers.
We were led back to the lobby area where we explored a bit more and approached Lyman. My husband and I chatted with Lyman for quite some time. His quick wit had me laughing so hard tears were rolling down my cheeks. He helped clarify that this is taking place in Kansas. He also stressed repeatedly the importance of making choices. My interactions with Lyman were really the highlight of my night.
I am very impressed with Speakeasy Society and look forward to Chapter 3. I highly recommend The Kansas Collection.
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.
Will you help us find him?
Join the search party HERE.
The website describes this experience as follows, “Have You Seen Jake is an immersive, experiential theatrical project that is highly curated and specifically customized for each participant. The experience evolves based on your level of engagement and the interactions of the rest of the search party. Search party members will be engaged through telephone calls, emails, text messaging, social media, small group in-person interactions, fully realized experiences – and perhaps other means.”
So far I’ve found it to be a fascinating journey. I jumped into the search party near the beginning in early October. I have regular text communications with my friend Jake, however I’m still fuzzy on how we know each other. The forgetting sickness has really affected me. I am pretty sure I’m also friends with Heather and Jesse, but again forgetting sickness has made our history a bit foggy for me. I enjoy chatting with Blue and the community on the Slack chat group where we share personal stories and theories, as well as solve puzzles together. Many photos and videos appear regularly on the Instagram.
I’ve already attended two in person events.
The first was a search party event at a park where a small group of us found a few things and then met a young man that left us to fend for ourselves when THEY showed up blaring Clementine and staring at us through creepy animal masks.
The second was an event in which small groups of participants from the search party met Jake’s friend at a bar. His sister showed up and we were given instructions to individually explore his last residence that same evening. While searching through the motel room I came across a Dream diary, books, and more. However I did not find what I was looking for (a certain book) before three of THEM in animal masks came at me forcing me to my knees and telling me to beg before I wound up facedown on the bed being told that I had indeed failed Jake and branding me with the words “Dead Dummy” across my back in marker. (For those of you that don’t know, I’m a ventriloquist.)
Tonight Jesse called asking about my upcoming planned trip to the Magic Castle. This was my first time speaking to him throughout the experience so far. I have to say the amount of customization has been impressive. You can see the drawing SHE posted of me from their Instagram account below.
I already have my tickets for the ticketed event Therapy & Dreams next month. (Did I mention all of the interactions and events have been at no cost so far?) I’m very excited to continue interacting with all of my old friends that I am remembering and the not so friendly characters too.
Dates also announced for the next two ticketed events: Water & Fire in February and Yesterday, Today & Tomorrow in March.
5 Stars (of 5)
Do you seek Enlightenment? The OOA Institute can help.
For the past seven months I have been part of a fascinating alternate reality game through The Tension Experience. It’s the wonderfully unique creation of Darren Lynn Bousman and Clint Sears. A community formed on the forums at the website. As the story unfolded participants chose sides between the OOA Institute and those against the OOA sided with the BOS. I have remained loyal to the OOA even though others have called it a cult.
As Indoctrination ended, it made way for the beginning of Ascension.
Ascension is a beautifully done event that can’t really be compared to anything else in Los Angeles. It’s a unique blend of interactive haunt, theatre, escape room, and more. It is a stand alone event so you don’t need to have any prior knowledge of the story. You will be immersed the the story whether or not you know anything at all about it going into the event.
However, if you have the time I recommend checking out the forums on The Tension Experience website. It is one of the warmest most welcoming online communities I’ve encountered. I’ve made real life friends through the forum. Actually the entire group with whom I attended Ascension were friends I’ve made on the forum.
This is a good point at which to mention I have never done an extreme haunt. To be honest I was a bit worried about Ascension because it seemed like all of my friends from The Tension Experience community loved extreme haunts and I had never done Alone or Blackout or anything like that. Well I’m pleased to say I didn’t call the safe word (I did think about it once).
Don’t get me wrong, it IS INTENSE. However it is not the type of extreme haunt where you just get beaten and humiliated, so if you watched The Blackout Experiment documentary know that this is different. The Tension Experience is so much more. It’s more psychological and less physical than I expected. It’s much more about creating an individual experience for each participant through storytelling that leaves an impression.
A little advice for your adventure into Ascension:
- Do your best to attend with an open mind and be ready to be present in the moment.
- Do not wear your favorite outfit or shoes as they may get dirty.
- Leave your cell phone, jewelry, valuables at home or in the car. Believe me it felt weird not wearing my wedding ring, but I was so glad I left it at home for the event.
- Do not be late. You will have a specific arrival time. Think of this as a performance more than a haunt. Give yourself ample time for traffic and finding the parking lot.
- Use the bathroom before arriving and don’t drink a bunch of liquids. It is at least 2 hours without bathroom breaks.
I first heard about The Tension Experience in late February from friends that described it as an interactive haunt. The thing that drew me in and got me obsessed with checking their website and social media was the puzzles hidden throughout. I didn’t label The Tension Experience in the title of this blog as I normally would because honestly I don’t know how to describe it. It’s not a haunt or a puzzle game, it’s an…experience. So far I’m not clear of the purpose of it all, nor am I concerned, I’m just enjoying the ride.
The Tension Experience website allows participants to complete a fairly lengthy, personal questionnaire. After that everyone’s experience is unique. So far my journey has allowed me to have a few email and phone interactions with the OOA Institute that resulted in a live meeting in downtown Los Angeles.
I will do my best to describe my experience exactly as I remember it.
My meeting took place on April 30th at 8:05pm. I was given very specific instructions to arrive at a designated location alone and wait for my cell phone to ring. I waited on the corner near the bus stop watching people arrive and depart for several minutes when I heard that glorious Dr. Who theme song (my ringtone) begin.
I answered and the voice on the other end instructed me to raise my right hand. I stood on the corner with my hand raised high above my head as a young, nicely dressed woman approached. She embraced me in the kind of hug your grandmother gives when she hasn’t seen you since last Christmas and started telling me how excited she was for me. She gripped my arm tightly and we walked arm in arm like schoolgirls down the dark Los Angeles sidewalk. After a short walk she paused, had me sign a waiver and then asked if I trusted her. I assured her I did and she handed me a hood to place over my head. She then gently guided me through a doorway, down a hall and into an elevator. While in the elevator that felt as though it was traveling to a basement she continued to compliment me until I asked her name. This seemed to fluster her a bit and she explained to me very thoroughly that her name, Talia, was not important and she was the lowest of the low. Then she left me alone outside of the elevator still blinded by the hood to contemplate why I deserved Enlightment and wait for someone higher up to fetch me.
While I stood alone in the darkness with my thoughts someone approached and whispered the question, “What makes you so special?” Then after some pause stated, “I don’t think you are special.” Then they vanished.
After what seemed like an eternity, someone approached me and grabbed my shoulders to push me quickly down more hallways to a room where I was placed in front of a mirror still wearing the hood. I was asked why I had come. Then over the next several minutes I was allowed to remove the hood but only gaze directly at my reflection in the mirror while handing off my cell phone and answering questions being rapidly fired my way. “What’s your name?” “What have you done to improve yourself today?” “What have you done to improve humanity today?” “Are you a good person?” “Who is your best friend?” “Who knows you better…your best friend or your cell phone?” “Are you a good person?” “What’s the worst things you’ve every done to another person?” “What’s your biggest regret?” “Are you a good person?” Then I was told by a male voice that it only takes 2 minutes to completely download the information from a cell phone and they had done that. I was instructed to replace the hood on my head and shoved back down the hallway that smelled of burning candles to have my phone placed in my hand as a woman’s voice told me that they were not who they seemed and gave me instructions to look my attendant in the eyes and say something specific once my hood was removed. I was then passed off to Talia and escorted in the elevator and back to the entrance. We had a quick exchange and then I was heading back with instructions not to interact with anyone between there and my car. The entire experience took about 40 minutes.
I was not allowed to mention anything of my experience until after all applicants had completed their experiences that evening. Lucky for me I only had to wait about 15 minutes.
It was all quite exciting and fun. Well, that first moment when my phone was removed from my hand was a bit stressful. It’s not everyday unlock my phone and give it to a total stranger.
I was surprised to find the above photo of myself hooded in front of the mirror in my photo gallery.
I have since been checking The Tension Experience forums and sharing stories with other participants about their experiences with the OOA. You can visit the forum and even participate once you create an account on the site. Participants also discuss theories about the experience as well as plan meet ups and discuss puzzles on the site. It’s quite a community.
If this blog post has peaked your interest be sure to check out the site. Anyone can be part of the online action, however live events appear to only be happening in the Los Angeles area. Not only is it a unique and thrilling experience, so far it’s been free.
You will only get out of The Tension Experience what you put into it. So join the community and get active.
Update 1: I received this tweet tonight which has me excited for what’s to come.
Update 2: The OOA is always watching!!! Within minutes of posting this blog and sharing it on Twitter (around 2 am) I received a surprising call on my cell phone from a blocked number. The mysterious voice on the other end called me by name and then proceeded to tell me something to the effect of my account of the event had been noticed and I had done some good in light.