A few months ago, I stepped into the world of Oz through the immersive experience known as The Kansas Collection presented by The Speakeasy Society. This collection has been an ongoing journey broken up by chapters starting with “The Key.” Having completed “The Key” by deciding to join the Scarecrow Militia, I was interested in seeing how the upcoming chapters would expand upon that and the search for The Patchwork Girl. To read about my experience with Chapter 1, click HERE, but be aware that both this review and that one contain spoilers, so if you plan on experiencing The Kansas Collection, I would wait to read the review till after.

For the second chapter, titled “The Axe”, some of us received a mission from the Scarecrow to find members of the Patchwork Resistance who are seeking out new recruits. However, as I learned fairly quickly, no one is who they say they are no one can be trusted. I was lumped into a group with two other people and quickly taken away from the main holding area but a woman who demanded that she be referred to as General. The General took me and the two other individuals to an undisclosed area where she demanded to know who we were working for. I had decided to go into this experience with the knowledge that I was part of the Scarecrow Militia but that didn’t mean my allegiance was to him. In all honestly, I wasn’t sure where my allegiance stood because no one had given me the information I needed yet to believe anything they were saying. Once the General had enough of us, she brought us into another room where a large white tent was set up and where we would come face to face with Glinda – who most certainly wasn’t the good witch we have all been led to believe.

Inside this pristine tent, Glinda was interrogating a disheveled man with tears in his eyes and chains around his wrists. Through a series of brief conversations we learned that this was The Tin Man and Glinda was doing whatever she could to get any type of imperative information from him in regards to Dorothy. It’s important to note that the acting talents of both these individuals was absolutely astounding. I was completely mesmerized by Glinda’s power and confidence while my heart absolutely broke for The Tin Man and all that he was going through. As I sat there, I made sure to appear neutral so as to not give away my feelings on the situation that was unfolding in front of me. In hindsight, I’m glad I didn’t, because what happened at the end of Glinda’s and The Tin Man’s exchanges reinforced why no one from the Land of Oz can be fully trusted.

As we came to the end of our journey, we were stopped by one other character, the beautiful and captivating Lion. She didn’t give much away as to where she playing into the narrative yet, but she left a big enough impression for those in my group to want to know more. As I exited out of this experience, I felt a charge course through me. The intensity of all that had happened came crashing down and I felt the yearning to know more. I walked around the space, as I waited for my friends to finish their experience, picking up forgotten memorabilia, notes written on an ancient typewriter that featured the phrases from THE EMERALD as well as many letters (all the same but with different timstamps) addressing the recruits, pleading for help. Though the experience had ended in that space, it most certainly was continuing on in my mind as I considered where I stood in this battle.

Overall, “The Axe” was a total masterpiece in terms of acting, storyline, and imagery. I felt completely immersed in the environment that was set before me and when my time was over, I didn’t want it to end. Luckily, the third chapter is just around the corner (this weekend to be exact) and I can only imagine what awaits me there. If you are new to immersive experiences, or ARG’s (alternate reality games), than The Kansas Collection is a perfect stepping off point. Rumor is that they be re-releasing Chapter 1 in June, so make sure to grab your tickets as they sell out rather quickly.

For more information on The Kansas Collection and the other performances put on by The Speakeasy Society, visit their website at www.speakeasysociety.com and follow them on social media at FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

Shannon McGrew
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