Victoria – Act 2 of Captivated by They Played Productions
What secrets can memories hold? If you’re attending Captivated Act Two: Victoria, memories unfold like flowers, the petals peeling away, slowly blossoming to reveal what initially lies hidden. The beautiful veneer fades into something more calculated, more sinister. But I get ahead of myself…
Victoria is Act Two in They Played Productions’ three-act immersive production, Captivated. You can catch up on Act One: Justine here, and the mini-event Mike presented at Midsummer Scream here. A more elaborate piece than the quiet apartment party of Act One, Victoria takes guests further into the mystery of several missing women and the reporter trying to solve the puzzle. The audience is brought in by former reporter Mike and his hacker friend, Emma, to find out more about Victoria Polidori, her friend Ely, Ely’s new wife Justine, and Victoria’s late husband Grant. Mike thinks they hold the key to the missing women in Silver Lake, and that we can help discover it.
Don’t worry if you missed Justine or Midsummer Scream’s Mike, a quick recap of events so far is provided by Mike via video chat. He also levels the playing field by plunging the audience into brand new territory: the origins of the mystery. Emma begins showing guests a video of Dr. Grant Polidori’s wake, and, through visual effects, we are transported to the live event, where we have been instructed to ask questions and gather as much information as possible on the people and events surrounding Grant’s suspicious life and death.
Sandbox-style, guests are free to roam and interact with any character they wish. Grant’s wake is a solemn occasion attended by his widow Victoria, Grant’s secretary Leah, his co-worker and hospital lawyer Mr. West, and funeral director Abigail Simmons. Through conversation, characters dole out information that guests can piece together and analyze, trying to make sense of the situation. Throughout the proceedings, characters speak about the dearly departed, and Ms. Simmons takes guests to sign the guest book in a separate room. It is here that more secrets reveal themselves through one-on-one interactions with characters, memories within a memory. It is then up to guests to share or hide any given information they might have learned. I made the decision to share my information with characters to see what sparks it might ignite.
The drama escalated when several uninvited guests turned up to the wake, providing some of the most heated and emotional moments of the night, and revealed even more nefarious information. My fellow attendees and I kept comparing notes throughout the evening and watched rapt as characters interacted with each other before we were whisked away for yet another cliffhanger ending.
A beautiful and well-crafted piece, Victoria expertly utilized audio and visual elements to properly place guests within a certain time and place, and to maximize an emotional arc. They Played Productions enlisted wonderful improvisational actors who made me laugh, cry, and cheer in triumph, and the thrilling unfolding narrative keeps me – dare I say it? – captivated.