With writer and director John Braver’s live interactive horror play currently mounting its fourth year, we visited Delusion: Lies Within this past Sunday night in Los Angeles, CA, and I can happily say that out of all of the So Cal haunt attractions I’ve visited, Delusion is the most immersive, visceral, engaging and outright enthralling experience to be had.
Having launched the concept in 2011 with Delusion (and returning in 2012 and 2013 with follow-ups Delusion: The Blood Right and Delusion: Masque of Mortality), stuntman-turned-writer/director Braver, along with co-writer Peter Cameron, and An Interactive Theatre & Film Company, has this year staged Delusion: Lies Within in a foreboding manor in the West Adams district of L.A. It’s a new location, one which perfectly suits the narrative of the new play, in which attendees finds themselves drawn into the world of fictitious author Elena Fitzgerald. Having allegedly gone missing, her home is now occupied by the fantastically dangerous creations of her literary works and a dark secret which needs to be unraveled by her zealous fans (you).
Arriving to Delusion: Lies Within, we were first greeted by a 1930’s flavored bar adorned with flickering candles, overstuffed leather couches, swing sets and an old phonograph horn, which snaked eerily from the ground. Emanating from it was the voice of Fitzgerald, but it did it come from a record or from something on the other end, deep within the manor? Already drawn into the mystery, we were summoned some minutes later, and our group of ten snuck into the home, where our macabre adventure began.
As for what we found inside, It would be a disservice to spoil. Suffice it to say, Delusion: Lies Within is truly an interactive experience. Unlike your standard haunt, where people are herded through mazes en masse in the shortest amount of time possible, Braver’s play forces attendees into challenging, psychologically uncomfortable and at times downright scary scenarios over the course of roughly forty-five minutes. From the basement to the attic, from meat lockers to closets, along the way decisions are made that create individually unique experiences for attendees (something which keeps Delusion fresh, as no one visit will be the same), and with top-notch production design, insanely talented (and committed) actors and set pieces of such caliber I’ve not seen elsewhere, the level of immersion integral to Delusion is without peer.
It’s now over a day after my visit, and I’ve still got a smile on my face, a chill up my spine, and quite simply, I just want to go back again. And again. And again.
Tickets to Delusion: Lies Within are currently sold out (the event has such a rabid following that they actually did within an hour of going on sale), though there’s some indication that additional dates may be added. Watch the Delusion website here, “like” them on Facebook here and follow them on Twitter.