Within Our Walls is loaded with the accoutrements of a Halloween attraction (a walk-through set drenched in drenched in an aura of dread thanks to ambient sound and sinister lighting effects), but it is definitely not a haunted house attraction – and not just because it’s taking place in July rather than October. The latest effort from the creator of the Opechee Home Haunt is actually an immersive play that casts the audience as voyeuristic eavesdroppers, spying on a grieving family through cracks in the walls. The source of their grief is their murdered daughter, but this is no domestic drama about healing; the story edges toward a devastating revelation about the horrifying truth behind the unsolved crime.
Within Our Walls is different from many immersive plays in that the audience is separated from the characters, watching the action from a long corridor that parallels three rooms in the house. As the short play unfolds, viewers move back and forth, following the characters or deciding for themselves which room to observe. An additional touch of suspense is added because the characters can hear the audience; though they mistake the sounds for rats, they will peer back through the cracks, and viewers are advised to remain in shadows so as not to be seen.
Staged inside a warehouse in Glendale, Within Our Walls begins inside The Attic, a sort of themed merchandise room, where viewers can peruse creepy trinkets and decorations while awaiting their show time. The entire experience lasts about twenty minutes, and for an extra fee, viewers can go behind the scenes for a tour that takes them inside the house.
On opening night, writer-director SAM KELLMAN gave Hollywood Gothique the guided tour during which he answered a few questions for the video at top.
Within Our Walls Photo Gallery
Hollywood Gothique's rating of Within Our Walls
Within Our Walls spins an imaginative variation on immersive theatre, with the presence of the audience explained by casting them as eavesdroppers spying from a space within the walls of the house where the action takes place. The sense of surreptitiously observing private events adds a deliciously creepy vibe, especially when the characters peer back through the cracks.
Unfortunately, the opening moments of the play are too low-key, and the ambient soundscape (which effectively establishes a foreboding tone) muddles the dialogue until things ramp up and people begin shouting. The ending delivers a shocking revelation with some good lighting and sound effects, but the short running time feels a bit too short to justify the admission price.
Within Our Walls continues through July 30 with performances running every half-hour from 6pm to 10pm on Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday. The address is 636 Irving Avenue in Glendale. For more information, visit withinourwalls.show.
Crew: Sam Kellman – writer, director, producer. Sam Deetjen – construction manager. Lily Omundson – art department lead. Andew Morris – scenic drafting.