We follow up last week’s article about Delusion: The Blue Blade with this video question-and answer session featuring Jon Braver, creator and producer of Delusion: Interactive Theatre. Our original plan was for the written article to focus specifically on the subject of opening the director’s cut of Delusion: The Blue Blade during the spring season; the video would be more wide ranging, including tangential topics about Delusion in general. Unfortunately, due to sound and video issues, not all of those other topics made it into the video. Therefore, we are including a partial transcript below, including material that was partially or completely omitted from the article and the video.
Delusion – L.A.’s favorite immersive horror play – tried something new in 2019: opening during the spring season.
Usually staged inside an old mansion during Halloween, the interactive play has tended to emphasize supernatural horror, but Halloween 2018 saw a change of pace. Set in a theatre next to the Fais Dodo nightclub, Delusion: The Blue Blade cast its audience as Initiates on the trail of a powerful blade capable of traversing time and space. Emphasizing thrills rather than chills, the science fiction adventure seemed designed to break free of the Halloween niche. After a sold-out run in the fall, a revised “director’s cut” of The Blue Blade opened this February.
This was the first step in a long-term plan to extend Delusion into a year-round event. Shortly after the reopening, Jon Braver sat down with the press to discuss the difficulties of sustaining a live interactive play during the off-season.
HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: How big a roll of a dice was it open the director’s cut of Delusion: The Blue Blade from February to June?
JON BRAVER: My god! It was an experiment. Traditionally, we have been open in the fall. We have just taken a chance with this whole thing. It was a big feat to do this. We’re gonna shift our schedule; we’re going to close March 17 instead of June. Then we’re going to focus on the next thing.
This was the hardest one to get up. It was the grandest one we’ve ever built – the most expensive. I was like, ‘Let’s build a jungle! Let’s build a cave!’ My line producer needs to say no more often!
QUESTION: What was the hardest thing to pull off in Delusion: The Blue Blade.
JON BRAVER: This was the first year we hired a professional shop. We had to get a proper scenic shop. Building that [jungle temple] was our biggest set piece, our grandest design, unlike our previous years, when we just had a mansion. There was no major build when it came to those.
QUESTION: How hard is it to trust the audience to do the right thing?
JON BRAVER: That is something my team hates me for. I always trust the audience too much. For this ending, I was going to have people go into the temple on their own. Eve doesn’t go; she gets taken out. But it never worked! There might be a way to do it, but it didn’t fit the story. Anyway, we trust the audience way too much. But in every group we hope there’s one person who can act as the leader – this whole thing’s a social experiment – this one person can know the story needs to keep moving forward. [Braver adds that actors are supposed to prompt the audience when necessary.]
HOLLYWOOD GOTHIQUE: What would you say to someone who saw Delusion: The Blue Blade in the fall and wants to know what’s different in the Director’s Cut?
JON BRAVER: Two things. There’s an alternate ending, so if you went there before, there’s a very exciting alternate ending that has more significance to the story than the old one. There’s a few little moments in the show that are enhancements. Then as I say, if we didn’t change anything, you’d go through twice and say, ‘I don’t remember that, that, and that.’ There’s so many layers that you need to go through more than once.
QUESTION: Delusion: The Blue Blade is your first show that didn’t revolve around horror themes. Is this something you would like to do more of?
JON BRAVER: I want to do anything in the fantasy-horror genre, this one being the most fantastical-adventurous one. I don’t know what the next one will be, but all of the shows will encompass that… The previous shows were more horror-oriented, and the plan is to bring back some of those shows, because a lot of people didn’t get to see them.
QUESTION: Will you be back this fall?
JON BRAVER: I don’t know. I need a vacation. But my friend who knows me pretty well says, ‘I know you. You complain about it, but you’ll come back. You’ll have that bug again. You’ll want to do it.’
[Note: This was a round table interview. Our questions are identified but not those asked by other members of the media.]