The first immersive event that I attended when I moved to California was Creep LA. Since then, I’ve been consistently blown away by their productions, whether it was their own rendition of the Aaron Mahnke’s LORE, based on the Amazon Prime series, or a dinner party with an eccentric and secretive family in THE WILLOWS, the creative endeavors that Creep LA and Just Fix It Productions go through to make an unsettling, albeit beautiful, experience is unparalleled. I say all this because their Halloween show AWAKE is, without a doubt, a tragically beautiful masterpiece and their strongest performance to date.
Located at the ROW DTLA in Los Angeles, AWAKE is an immersive experience in which can only be explained as a waking nightmare. The experience is abstract in nature, where guests are led through a 60,000 sq ft warehouse outfitted with terrifying vignettes centered on specific characters and their memories and/or dreams. Guests have the opportunity to experience two different paths which then converged towards the end to bring the story full circle. Though not extreme compared to other haunts and immersive experiences, guests can expect to be touched and/or made to participate by doing specific tasks that the actors ask.
It’s hard to write this review and not give away everything but believe me when I say it’s 100% worth it. Though not as scary as the first Creep event that I went to, this experience definitely managed to get crawl it’s way under my skin, making me feel incredibly uncomfortable. Dealing with themes ranging from death, to abuse, to mania and all other matters of emotional discomfort, AWAKE pushes and pulls on you to open your eyes and see the world around you, no matter how upsetting it can be. One of the biggest themes that I took away dealt with the pressures of society and the never-ending process of trying to be at the top of whatever it is you do, no matter the cost. As someone who is overworked and exhausted on a daily basis, seeing this performance in particular was really eye-opening (pun intended) and reminded me that I don’t always need to sacrifice my well-being just to try and get ahead.
What makes AWAKE so effective, however, is the incredible talent that these performers possess. Each and every actor pulled off their performances without a hitch, making for a seamless and flawless execution. I don’t mean to highlight one person out of the bunch, but I would be remiss if I didn’t speak about Daniel Montgomery’s performance. The vignette that he is part of is one of the more unsettling ones, allowing the audience to piece together the fabrics of the unfolding story. His transformation into the role of a salesman was one that left me unsettled and frozen in my seat. I felt a pain in my heart as I listened to the actress recount what she experienced as a child and how this salesman came into play. With unnaturally large, swollen, watery lips, and blacked out eyes, along with makeup that resembled a more hideous version of the Joker, I was transfixed, and a bit frightened, by what stood in front of me. I felt myself go through something during that particular segment and I don’t believe I’ll be able to easily shake off in the days and weeks to come.
Along with the tremendous acting, I was also insanely impressed with the amount of detail and creativity that went into this entire production. Working with 60,000 sq ft. may seem easy to some, but to fill that space with enough decor while not going overboard, and making sure that the two paths don’t cross over when they aren’t supposed too, is a huge feat in and of itself. Throughout the space there was everything from makeshift houses to a gigantic bat, with smaller accents used to highlight more intimate performances. The fact that Creep was able to use this large warehouse space to tell multiple storylines on such a grand scale while still maintaining a simplicity in the execution of the design was insanely impressive and deserves all the accolades.
As I’m sure you can tell, I’m absolutely in awe with what Creep has presented this Halloween season with AWAKE. I stand by my statement that it is a masterpiece and one that will keep you mesmerized and in-thought for weeks to come. There is pure brilliancy behind Just Fix It Productions which shines through in Creep as well as their other endeavours. If you haven’t been to one of their shows, I can’t urge you enough to go, as you’ll walk away changed by the emotional impact of the stories as well as the beautiful production design. I have found a home at Creep, a place where I feel safe to explore my emotions and deal with my traumas, and I’m forever grateful to have this experience in my life. I am awake.
For more information about Creep LA’s AWAKE visit http://www.creepla.com/.
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