How does it feel to be within a nightmare, while still being Awake?
We arrived early to RowDTLA and came upon an eerily deserted courtyard. Following the instructions on a sign to wait there, we watched as others around us slowly began to congregate. Faint shrieks could be heard in the distance. As time passed, more and more of the twenty five active participants of the show had joined us. We watched as a woman in a trench coat with a clipboard approached each of them.
The moment that we reached the scheduled showtime, we were split off into pairs, urged not to speak a word, and led down a corridor to our destination. From there, we were separated from our partner and led into the experience alone.
Masked performers guided each of us through a cloudy LA warehouse and onto a bed – one of many made up in the center of the large, open space. As the show began, and scenes unfolded in the center of the room before us, we were each whispered to by actors who appeared and disappeared in and out of the fog. These moments were intimate and established a sense of uneasiness. This feeling of vulnerability became elevated as we were once again pulled away; instructed to follow them again into the hazy darkness.
As quickly as the show had started, each of us were briskly pulled into our first of several nightmares. In groups of five, we were led through individual nightmare scenarios that felt genuine, relatable, and intimately deep. Each scenario ranged from quarles at a dinner table to desperately fleeing to escape an ever-growing threat. Each nightmare prompted different asks from us and we were seamlessly pulled and folded into the next one. For some of us, we were removed from a scene and thrown into an even more intimate encounter. An encounter with something lurking in the shadows of our nightmares.
The show itself was a living being. It had a pulse and wove each of us in and out and through its different moments in such a chaotic but intentional manner. The flow of our paths was random but always felt intentional and the ambiance was always familiar yet so disorienting.
CreepLA ended just like it began. We were lead off of the elevator and out into a foyer where there were photo booths to capture our night’s memory. Once our group met back up just outside the warehouse, we each had stories we couldn’t wait to tell. Some of us had wildly different experiences and each of us left that night in a state of awe and the desire to participate in more immersive theatre.
“We crawled. We ran. We did not make a sound. Yet we could not escape our nightmares.”
Awake left us amazed at what we had experienced. Not only was the show a multi-sensory whirlwind, the 75-minute experience was something we are not soon to forget. Creep was a technical and logistical marvel. From the audio cues to the lighting effects, each one of us were disoriented and wonderstruck for the majority of the show. The actors were outstanding – their clear dedication is what truly made each encounter memorable.
It’s unlikely that the LockChix will make it back to the City of Angels in 2019, but if JFI Productions produce another version of this immersive staple, it will certainly be a must-see show.