After what transpired at Victoria’s party between Victoria, Ely, and Justine, I became concerned. Even more so after a strange conspiracy theorist named Mike Stone had accosted us in a parking lot near Victoria’s apartment. Something wasn’t right and I couldn’t shake the feeling from my gut. Then came the events at Midsummer Scream. Mike had tried to reach out to us in order to get help cracking computer passwords from Victoria’s and Ely’s computers. Of course, Mike was working with amateurs and it didn’t take long for Ely to figure out that we were on to him and what we soon discovered to be numerous disappearances of women. 12 women to be exact. Ely confronted us and Mike was nowhere to be found. He was in danger. And the mystery deepened.

Now Mike is reaching out to us to try to crack the case. With the help of his friends, perhaps this time we will actually make progress in this mystery and discover secrets of how these monsters came to be.

CAPTIVATED: VICTORIA is the latest show from Erik Blair and Thea Rivera of They Played Productions and the second installment of their fully immersive event that takes place in a three-part series. The following synopsis will give you a taste of what CAPTIVATED: VICTORIA entails (per their press release):

In the edges of Hollywood, there is a secret.

A glimpse of something sad. Desperate. Monstrous. 

Someone is dead and their secrets are there, right in front of you. People circle around you while you hear the whispers of someone taken before their time.

You will learn a secret here that only you know. 

What you will choose to do with it is up to you.

It’s time to learn how these monsters were made…

Once again, the team behind CAPTIVATED has sent audiences down a distinctive choose-your-own-adventure pathway. You can choose not to engage with the characters at the wake for Victoria’s husband Grant and just watch as the drama slowly unfolds before your eyes. Or you can choose to actively attempt to engage with different characters, learning more about them and uncovering secrets that can have dangerous implications for the future. I will admit that it did take me some time to warm up to the interaction due to how uncomfortable wakes generally make me feel. I never know what all is super appropriate to say when someone is grieving and had to fight against the urge to remain silent and somber looking throughout the course of the experience.

What I think I loved the most about the experience was how sleuthy we were allowed to become depending on our comfort level. In some experiences, you’re really given only a limited playground to explore in. For me, I don’t necessarily like limitations when I’m sent down the path of a murder mystery or, in this experience’s case, several. Throughout the course of CAPTIVATED: VICTORIA, we were given the privilege of being able to listen in on conversations, poke through books, and interact with characters in ways that allowed us to further discover what might have actually happened prior to the events of CAPTIVATED: JUSTINE. And that was the most fun part for me.

Another component of the experience that I really enjoyed was how easy it was to access depending on whether or not the group had seen CAPTIVATED: JUSTINE. At the very beginning of the experience, the character Mike Stone gives a very thorough recap of what happened in CAPTIVATED: JUSTINE and what happened at the pop-up event at Midsummer Scream prior to sending us upstairs. The way that the recap was handled serves to immediately hook both newcomers and returning audience members in such a way that it doesn’t feel like a quick, boring catch up. And, because this experience serves more like a giant flashback, the information that audience members uncover at the wake puts everyone on the same playing field towards the end of the experience. Yeah, there were easter eggs thrown in for people who attended CAPTIVATED: JUSTINE, but those easter eggs weren’t so prominent that it would make newcomers to the series feel like they were missing out.

I would be doing a great disservice if I provided any further information regarding my experience during CAPTIVATED: VICTORIA because They Played Productions has created an act that is so fluid and so enriched in detailing and information that to describe my experience would risk the chance of giving away pertinent information. And a huge part of the fun of the CAPTIVATEDseries is uncovering the information for yourself. There were moments throughout the course of the 90 minutes where I could feel myself responding to certain characters with very strong emotion. And the fact that the show ends with a heightened sense of adrenaline and unsettling worry makes it difficult to not want more of this story. In fact, I’m really sad that this is only going to be a three-part series. Luckily, CAPTIVATED: VICTORIA is designed in a way that you can return back for multiple viewings, so you can see different variations of how the story unfolds each time.

CAPTIVATED ACT TWO: VICTORIA will run from August 17-19, September 14-16, and 21-23. Showtimes are at 8pm and 10pm and tickets can be purchased at https://theyplayedproductions.ticketleap.com/captivated-act-two/

If you want to learn more about the CAPTIVATED series, make sure to check out our interview with Erik Blair and Thea Rivera here.

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Sarah Musnicky

Managing Editor at Nightmarish Conjurings
Sarah is the managing editor of Nightmarish Conjurings and a lover of all things magical and horrific. All who are familiar with her can attest for her love of glitter, adorable plush, and obsession with folklore and mythology. When she's not chasing after things she probably shouldn't hug, Sarah is making sure that Shannon's sanity stays intact long enough for deadlines to be tackled.
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