I’ve been buried, re-lived my birth, discovered fear and explored the afterlife. Screenshot Productions has managed to put me into various realms throughout the year, and all have managed to affect me differently. My experience with Screenshot’s latest production, The Rope, was quite different than the rest – it was interactive. I wasn’t walking through alone, I was with others. We ran around and interacted, and I was pleasantly surprised with this vastly different approach than what I’m used to.
10:00 PM, and I’m alone in downtown Los Angeles. I was thrilled for once to see others parked and standing around me. Traditionally, Screenshot produces shows that require the guest to walk through alone, offering a unique, personalized, intense and intimate experience. As little as I knew about this certain production, I was curious to see how this would play out with different audience members in one show.
Once I was blindfolded and escorted into the raw space of Think Tank Gallery, the show began with a fascinating introduction. I sat there with four others as we listened intently to our gracious host. Placed in front of a faux bonfire, I was immediately taken by the shift in mood in the room as the host gave a lively introduction to the story and instructions for the experience. It almost felt whimsical – something I didn’t expect at all. I already knew this would be different than Bardo Thodol, Parturition or anything I’ve done with Screenshot Productions. I felt myself listening closer, as I learned that this would be more of an interactive experience than linear. I was getting flashbacks to my viewing of The Witch and then hints of Dante’s Inferno mixed with the The Dark Crystal. Blindfolded again with a satchel in hand to collect items, the host whispered personalized instructions into my ear, and then I stepped into the main space where I began my journey through the world of Conscientia.
For once, I wasn’t diving to a dark, unknown location… I wasn’t on my own in this journey. The room felt intimidating, but lively, filled with red drapes, trees, fog, and hooded figures. I stepped into this beautiful and dark fantasy tale ready to explore. Feeling slightly panicked watching others around me move forward, my competitive nerve grew stronger, and I ran to my first task of the evening. I was told to find the Sisters in White. This was like a game, and I was curious to see what would come next. My first instinct was to follow the rope which was placed in the room, but I found myself wandering aimlessly. Luckily, a robed figure found me, and lead me to right direction. I guess I should’ve listened better to the host.
After I quickly overcame my confusion, I shuffled through the space discovering different characters, interacting with them and collecting various “tokens” given to me. During each monologue/scene, we were given a closer look into each character’s story, and how each piece plays into the dark world of Conscientia. We were the human travelers in this fantasy world. I felt like I was living in the World of Warcraft, and holy crap, I loved it! The experience took about an hour or so, and probably ended with one of the most breathtaking finales I’ve ever experienced. Someone must’ve heard me say, “Whoa!” I probably did, and Screenshot Productions deserves that praise – it was truly a beautiful ending.
As expected on an opening night of an event, there were some pacing issues, but the crew were able to manage the situation professionally. At some points, more than one guest were instructed to meet the same character, which caused a back-up. I was told and assured this issue was fixed after opening, which is great, since this was the only challenge I really took note of during my experience at The Rope.
I thoroughly enjoyed the concept, and congratulate the team at Screenshot Productions for offering something different to the community. I can’t help but think how this production would truly flourish with a larger budget. During my journey, I imagined a bright future where Screenshot would be able to produce this in a large-scale way similar to Sleep No More in New York City. The possibilities are endless, and the ambition that Screenshot Productions has is strong. While this was definitely not horror, this absolutely appeals to fans who enjoy experiences such as Sinister Pointe, DELUSION or Creep LA. It’s something different, and that’s what makes Los Angeles so goddamn special with these types of experiences – that there’s something for everyone.
There are only a few nights left for The Rope and you can purchase your tickets here: http://screenshotproductions-tickets.com/
- Johanna Atilano