Have you ever been to a party where you feel like there was tension in the air? Better yet, have you been to a gathering where you had an inclining that things were about to go terribly, terribly wrong? In the latest Zombie Joe show, TOGETHER, we the audience get to participate in a production where things don't go as planned and we lay witness to devastating consequences.
When my group and I arrived to Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre, I was taken aback by the jovial nature of everyone around me. Mind you, I'm used to going to much darker performances, so to see everyone dressed up in Hawaiian shirts and laughing and joking around was a tad bit jarring; but nevertheless, I went in with an oepn mind. As my group and I were escorted in, we were greeted by a gentleman who handed us sparkling water and told us to enjoy our time. Once inside the main room, I took in the scenery in front of me. People were mingling about - to my left was a girl showing people how to Hula, to my right was a man making balloon animals and in front of me a pastor greeting each and every person. I decided, for the time being, to dodge the pastor and head into the backstage area of Zombie Joe's where another gentleman was stationed to take pictures of us wearing outrageous Hawaiian/masquerade type props. At this point, I found myself extremely confused. What exactly was going on and where was the tragedy that I was expecting to see. After hanging out in the photobooth for a bit, my group and I made our way back out to the main stage area where one of the gentleman, who clearly put this party together, made a speech. We had all come together to celebrate something, but unfortunately that something was unclear to me. From what I gathered, it seemed as though these select people (who were the actors of the show) has just opened something like a "Boys and Girls" club and were celebrating the success of the opening along with the community who helped bring it to fruition. Everyone cheered and raised their glasses and went about mingling, and at this point everything started to change...
The thing that makes TOGETHER so interesting is that you become a witness to the fallout of friendships and loves. It's an incredibly unique experience and I give Zombie Joe and the cast a ton of credit for putting on such a huge undertaking. As the "party" continued on, we all watched wordlessly as friendships crumbled, and lovers quarreled, and tragedy struck. The only complaint that I had of the show was it was really hard to hear everything that was going on. I understand not having the actors wear mic's because it takes away from the immersive element, but with so many peole in a room, and for those not knowing what was happening, it was really hard to give a feel as to what was transpiring. However, on the flip side, most of the actors personally came up to myself and my group and included us into their storyline by asking us for our opinions on what they shoud do and going so far as to even take our advice and move forward with that. It was really cool to see all the performers act so natural and become so involved with everyone around us.
Overall, TOGETHER was a unique experience that got an entire audience involved with the drama surrounding the performers. As I mentioned before, I wish we could have heard the actors more. I unfortunately didn't get to see the main tragedy unfold as their were too many people in front of me, but ultimately, I was able to put the pieces together. I think with a little more tightening up, this show could be one of the most well-thought-out and peculiar experiences I have done to date.
TOGETHER will be performing at Zombie Joe's Underground Theatre Group from September 3 - October 1 at 8:30pm. For reservations or ticket purchases call (818) 202-4120 or visit ZombieJoes.Tix.com.