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Hollywood Fringe Review: Reforged

Last Call Theatre Review Reforged
Actress Nina Santoyo interacts with audience members in Reforged. (photo by Charly Charney Cohen)

After two previous excursions into the SCP Universe, (Signals and The Showroom), Last Call Theatre takes a third trip into the realm of anomalous phenomena with Reforged, which casts audiences as members of a religious organization whose three factions must unite to choose a new Omniseer and rewrite the rules of their Blueprint for the future. Intercine rivalries and conspiracies threaten the outcome, and creating a new world may require wiping out the old one, but it’s up to you to help determine the results. As with Last Call Theatre’s previous interactive productions, each participant’s experience will be different, and how much you get out of it depends on how much you put into it.

Designated “anomalous” by the SCP Foundation, The Church of the Broken God Broken God believes in the supremacy of machine over flesh and worships a mechanical god Mekhane. Since the its Omniseer disappeared, the Church has split into three factions: The Broken Church, The Cogwork Orthodoxy, and the Maxwellists. Based on your answers to an online questionnaire before the show, you are assigned to one of the three sects, which will task you with ensuring their success at the upcoming election for the new Omniseer. You may have to obtain objects or information, sometimes by subterfuge, but your efforts will be hampered by conflicts not only between groups but also within each one. Complicating matters, a representative of the SCP Foundation (which Secures, Contains, and Protects paranormal anomalies) is on hand to observe the proceedings as an interested party, and a fourth faction emerges midway through. Will you stick with your faction, jump ship, or forge a new alliance?

As always, Last Call Theatre provides an intriguing setup and engaging interactivity, creating a sense of actively participating in events (rather than merely following action through a site-specific setting). A good time is almost guaranteed, but the results can vary, depending on how adept you are at navigating your way through the narrative. Sometimes, the results can be frustrating: you may complete a task only to find that someone else has already completed it or, worse yet, that the task has been rendered moot by some new story development.

Reforged stage review
Morgana Blackwell (Riley Cole seen with Haven Schneider) runs the Maxwellists, a group that suggests Ayn Rand’s Objectivists. (photo by Charly Charney Cohen)

Aggravating the situation, the three factions have been crafted to avoid presenting any as clearly superior to the others; consequently, none of them is particularly appealing. The Broken Church feels like religious reactionaries; The Cogwork Orthodoxy is a quasi-communist pro-labor group; and the Maxwellists come across like Ayn Rand’s Objectivists. The late-emerging fourth group is even worse: an apocalyptic cult that plans to employ a device that will wipe out the old world to make way for the new. To prevent that from happening, we ended up working mostly with the SCP Foundation rep, almost as a default choice.

The story was still entertaining, and the confrontation to prevent the nuke’s detonation provided a thrilling climax. After that, unfortunately, we found it difficult to care about the election that wrap up the show. Unlike the election in Last Call’s Abandoned, which felt as if it involved tangible consequences that fully resolved the story, Reforged‘s voting is about choosing the least problematic ideology. No matter who wins, the result seems unlikely to sow unity among the fractious sects, who will probably back at each other’s throats as soon as the ballots are certified.

Last Call Theatre's Reforged

Rating Scale

1 – Poor
2 – Mediocre
3 – Good
4 – Great
5 – Excellent

Reforged offers another intriguing trip into the SCP Universe, best enjoyed by participants with who relish interactivity and excel at task completion.

Reforged continues at the Hollywood Fringe Fest with performances on June 21 at 9pm, June 22 at 3pm, June 23 at 6pm, June 24 at 7pm, June 26 at 7:30pm, June 28 at 7pm, and June 29 at 9:30pm. Tickets are $40. Get information here.

Cast: Abiane as The Speaker, Envy as Mother Superior, Jake Adler as Ambassador Howard Kirkman, James Bilinksy as Greg Blutsman, Ashley Busenlender as D. Wilcox, Riley COle as Morgana Blackwell, Michael DiNardo as Talon the Brother, Liviera “Vira” Lim as Jules, Chess MacElvaine as Maeve Machina, Bonnie-Lynn Montano as Agent Melissa Wyrmwood, Isabell Moon as Tony, Maria Puig as Sadie Mournholt, Nina Santoyo as Ritchie Blutsman, Haven Schneider as Dr. Vulcara Wisteria, Mara Takla as Angelica Bumaro, Evan Wank as Father Otto Maddox, Shelby Ryan Lee as Acolyte of the Blueprint.

Crew: Alexander Whitover – director, narrative team. Jacob Zorehkey – creative lead, producer. Riley Colle – assistant director, producer, narrative team. Ashley Busenlener – producer, narrative team. Michael DiNardo – associate producer, fundraising. Kale Hinthorn – costume design. Haven Schneider – fx, makeup. Alissa Wilstein – scenic, prop designer. Liviera “Vira Lim – narrative team. Alexander Panagos – narrative team. Evan Wank – Graphic Designer.

Steve Biodrowski, Administrator

A graduate of USC film school, Steve Biodrowski has worked as a film critic, journalist, and editor at Movieline, Premiere, Le Cinephage, The Dark Side., Cinefantastique magazine, Fandom.com, and Cinescape Online. He is currently Managing Editor of Cinefantastique Online and owner-operator of Hollywood Gothique.