Immersive theatre is best when you go in blind, so if you’ve already experienced chapters 1 (The Key) and 2 (The Axe) of The Kansas Collection by LA-based immersive company The Speakeasy Society, or if you’re on the fence, then read on.
I’m sure I looked like a fish out of water — I couldn’t stop grinning. Which isn’t exactly the typical face someone makes when being recruited into a militia. I entered a colourful tent on the edge of a town in Kansas, where I learned that Dorothy left Oz long ago and that the Scarecrow is the new king. But there’s mutiny afoot with the rise of a group called the Patchwork Rebellion. Everyone is searching for the Patchwork Girl (aka Dorothy) and it’s up to you to decide who you believe and where your allegiance lies.
Lead writer Chris Porter and Director Julianne Just have taken the beloved characters from L. Frank Baum’s children’s novels and created a rich, dark world for adults. Throughout, the actors are superb, making you feel fully immersed in the world.
There are different experiences based on how you respond. As for myself, I made a pledge to the Scarecrow King. Or did I? On my journey I met the Wizard of Oz (who sat self-medicating with a flask) and was given a secret message. I was then rounded up with three others by General Jinjur where we were informed of the Revolt, led by former good witch Glinda (who is a BAMF). They, too, want Dorothy.
If immersive theatre makes you nervous, Speakeasy Society has created an alternative reality experience that is digestible for the uninitiated. Yes, you do need to actively participate, but the world they’ve created is easily accessible as long as you’re game.