I love going to haunts and Halloween themed events all year, but I go a little crazy during haunt season (late September through early November). Here is a list of the events and haunts I attended in 2016 in no particular order.
Universal Studios HHN
Knott’s Scary Farm (Skeleton Key)
Motel 6 Feet Under
Los Angeles Haunted Hayride
All Saints Lunatic Asylum
The Haunt with no name
Terror Behind These Walls
Field of Screams
Pennhurst Haunted Asylum
Barrett’s Haunted Mansion
Chambers of Terror
Hysteria Conner’s Farm
Gallows Hill Theatre (performance)
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.
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.
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.