Written by Shannon McGrew
Next month, from June 8-25, The Hollywood Fringe Festival will be showcasing over 2,000 performances of 375 different shows that celebrate the talent, passion, and drive that the performing arts community has. This year, The Hollywood Fringe Festival is doing something different than years past by having the addition of immersive theater. In Part 1 of my “Shows You Must Attend” I’ve picked my top 5 immersive theater/experience rooted in horror/fantasy that must not be missed, ranging from visiting the Land of Oz, deadly first dates, and love and loss.
The Speakeasy Society Presents: The Kansas Collection – Chapter 1 & 2
Synopsis: Kansas, you have a choice. The Mid-West is in the midst of the dust bowl. You are in need of food, money, and shelter. Opportunity is scarce, hope is nowhere to be seen, and the future looks bleak. You happen upon a curious group of strangers who have set up a colorful tent on the edge of town – all they ask is a moment of your time. “The Kansas Collection” is The Speakeasy Society’s immersive, episodic investigation of L. Frank Baum’s OZ Series where the choices you make determine the path of your journey.
I’ve had the opportunity to attend all three chapters of “The Kansas Collection”, and each one continues to blow my mind. The talent and passion that the creators and actors have is immense and it shines through in each and every performance that they do. If you are a fan of L. Frank Baum’s OZ Series, then do not pass on the opportunity to catch Chapters 1 & 2.
Shine On Collective Presents: Sweet Dreams – The Prologue
Synopsis: Once upon a time there lived a young woman who dreamed of prince charming and true love’s kiss. But venture too far into dreams and you might end up missing. “Sweet Dreams – The Prologue” is the first chapter in a series of immersive productions about a missing girl and the haze beyond reality. Will you end up too far in dreamworld yourself?
To say I love Shine On Collective’s shows would be an understatement, as their “Devoted” series was one of the most emotional, unsettling, and touching experiences I’ve ever had. Shine On Collective, which is run by two incredibly talented women, Marlee Delia and Anna Mavromati, is always looking to push the boundaries of storytelling in though-provoking ways that grip your heart and leave you shaken for days afterwards.
Capital W Presents: Red Flags
Synopsis: You met Emma online. Her profile says she likes rescue dogs, Tetris and therapy. Today is your first date. Too bad it will be terrible… “Red Flags” is a highly interactive, immersive theater experience for an audience of one, exploring the misunderstandings and unexpected connections on a bad first date.
This is my first time hearing about Captial W’s productions and from the buzz within the immersive theater community, their newest show is not to be missed! Unfortunately, getting tickets may be hard as their entire run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival is sold out! Hopefully, they will be adding additional dates which will allow fans the chance to see this dark story come to life. (UPDATE: Red Flags will definitely be extending and the best way for folks to find out about dates is by joining their mailing list at capitalwperformance.com)
The Firelight Collective Presents: Fire & Light
Synopsis: If you missed the critically acclaimed “Firelight” you now have a chance to get a taste of “Fire” & “Light”. Two 20 min tales of love and loss, touching on our past, present, and future. Join us on this adventure into the unknown.
I first heard about “Firelight” recently as the show has been critically acclaimed by many who have a deep appreciation of immersive productions. During the Hollywood Fringe Festival, guests can choose to go to either “Fire” or “Light”, or make the decision to go to both showings. This is definitely an adventure through a dreamlike state of love and loss that guests will not want to miss out on.
The ABC Project Presents: A(PARTMENT 8)
Synopsis: Take a walk in someone else’s skin in this fully immersive theatrical experience. One audience member per performance. Morbid and disturbing with a twinge of black humor.
One of the shows I look forward to seeing the most is Annie Lesser’s “A(PARTMENT 8)”. Another show that has gained critical acclaim, this was one that I made sure to grab tickets to immediately. So far the show has not sold out, but form what I have seen it’s getting pretty close, so this is one you’ll want to get your tickets for as soon as possible!