Be it the costumes, the obligatory proffering of candy, scary movies, pumpkin carving or even just another excuse to party, Halloween makes for one of the most interesting holidays of the year. This week I decided to add zombies to my October by attending The Zombie Syndrome, an interactive theatre adventure brought to the streets of Vancouver by the good people at The Virtual Stage. This unique theatre experience is as close as anyone can get to making “Choose Your Own Adventure” books a reality.
A couple of days before the “play” I was emailed a set of QR codes which, due to my lack of a smart phone, I forwarded to my iPhone equipped friend who would be joining me on my zombie trek. I was told I would be getting a phone call a day or two before the meet and indeed I did. Whenever I see “Unknown” displayed on my phone I get a little nervous but thankfully it was just the “Canadian National Defence” calling me to tell me the rendezvous spot for our meeting the next day. I was strictly told “Don’t be early, don’t be late”.
After we arrived at our meeting spot a very serious, clipboard carrying, lady came to meet us. She led us to a room where everyone (about 10 of us) was given waivers to sign. This signing was a prerequisite for our mission; this way the company couldn’t be held responsible if we ended up getting, you know, bitten by zombies or something. It was then “revealed” that we were a carefully selected group of scientists brought together in the hopes of finding Dr. Mosenki’s antidote. We were instructed that a successful mission meant us saving the entire human race.
We were thrown into a spew of riddles, music, other various surprises and you guessed it – zombies. Smartphones were central to our success as a team because most of the clues we acquired were in the form of QR codes. I’ll admit that I had a difficult time getting into the scavenger hunt mind set, but I think it had a lot to do with the introduction of the show. The actors at the beginning were more comical to me than they were terrifying. Thankfully, the production quickly improved as new characters and settings were introduced. There was a lot of chuckling within my group at the beginning, but this too died down as we got further into our search and became more involved in our mission.
The factor of surprise is what makes this production so special and is exactly why I can’t reveal much. I can say that there is a lot of travel involved and that we spent approximately two hours collecting clues, meeting different characters and making collective decisions. This Zombie trek forced our little group of strangers to work together and more importantly to become closer knit.
The Zombie Syndrome helped me forget my everyday worries by distracting me with its unpredictable twists and, somewhat cheesy, narrative. I will say this however; because this play is set on the streets of Vancouver, it can be difficult to ignore the bystanders that like to blatantly stare with that that inquisitive look on their faces with their question – “What are these weirdo’s doing?” remaining unanswered. Do not let those people ruin your experience or your mission. Remember, the fate of the human race depends on you.
Tickets for The Virtual Stage’s The Zombie Syndrome are available until Halloween with shows running in both the afternoon and evening.
Click here for more information.