Dragon and Meeple, Los Angeles, CA
Delusion is absolutely one of our favorite immersive theatre and haunted attraction events each year, but the rigors and challenges of the inherent nature of this site-inspired, technically complex, logistically complicated production mean that unfortunately, it doesn’t occur every season. Delusion did provide a sci-fi fantasy-laden spectacle in the form of The Blue Blade last fall and this spring, and you can see a behind the scenes of how the show played out here...
This autumn, though, Delusion has once again gone dark.
So if you’re Jon Braver and his team, and you’ve built up an eager fan base over the past eight years, but you can’t manage a full show that does justice to its predecessors, but you still want to offer sometihng to the public, what do you do? Well, this year at least, you team up with The Great Company—who made those amazing sets from The Blue Blade last year—and work together to tell a spin-off story from The Blue Blade in the form of a 20-30 minute “mini-Delusion” called Alt Delete, which has been playing the past couple of weeks.
Located in Dragon & Meeple, and fantasy themed bar and lounge right around the corner from the University of Southern California laden with a plethora of board games, group tables, and booze, and food options, Alt Delete puts guests in the role of Underwriters for the Safeguard Society—associates who follow the paths of those who are able to travel in time and repair any rifts or inconsistencies which may occur, in order to ensure a tidy chronology that maintains the fabric of time. The year is 1982 (because of course it is—if there’s one thing that 2019 entertainment has definitely embraced, it’s the 80’s), and in this mission, the Underwriters are covering for Dr. Evelyn Lowell, who has been wielding the Blue Blade to travel through different eras but occasionally leaving a bit of mess. In this case, there’s a call for clean-up in Evelyn’s office, and the new initiates are charged to complete the task.
Alt Delete combines rich and detailed sets with elements of Delusion’s brand of interactive theater and characteristics of an escape room. While a regular full show takes place across multiple rooms and scenes through an entire building, Alt Delete is mainly confined to two spaces—a brief, almost pre-show foyer area, a task in the main Dragon & Meeple sitdown space itself, and then Eveyln’s office for the majority of the story. Groups of up to six people work together to unravel a mystery with the help of a familiar character, working through several puzzles to clean up the trail that Dr. Lowell has left behind. Within the office, which has been lavishly transported back to the decade of cassette tapes and IBM’s and actually floppy disks, a maelstrom has been left behind from a previous ransack, and the Underwriters need to erase the evidence of Dr. Lowell’s prior intrusion.
This show as advertised as being presented by the Great Company, but the story and writing are still from Jon Braver. It’s a chance to explore one of Braver’s many branch ideas connected to the overall saga—the first implementation of the greater universe that is hinted by the main show. The others will be revealed—all in due time, as Evelyn would say—but Alt Delete presents a chance to experiment with the interactive theater genre in a smaller, more bite-sized serving that still offers the same sense of adventure and exploration.
Focusing the action within a single space provides a low-overhead, efficient operations way to carry out the narrative, and the amount of effects, theatrics, and engagement packed into the room is pretty impressive. Guests might search the office for clues, communicate with an old computer, and even climb to a remote space to connect the last piece of an operation. All the while, they work with another Underwriter who has stumbled onto the scene to help cover Evelyn’s tracks. The same immersive elements that the regular Delusion shows incorporate are prominent here as well, just scaled back, and the more guests commit themselves to the story and play along, the more satisfying the experience is. Guests won’t be seeing actors do stuntwork or have moving set pieces, but they will find a rich palette with hidden clues. There are also callbacks to various characters and tools featured in The Blue Blade—an ode to enthusiasts who participated in last year’s production.
Ultimately, Alt Delete is a lively and entertaining side story that provides fans of the series with connections and references to The Blue Blade while maintaining a fresh and creative plot that those unfamiliar with the history of the series can still enjoy. The time commitment is manageable, and the price point is more affordable than the traditional full Delusions as well. The same adventure story fun that The Blue Blade presents continues through Alt Delete, which means guests can plunge themselves into a delightful time-traveling encounter that is exciting and surprising and mysterious all at once.
Jon Braver and company are still working Delusion’s more traditionally gothic productions. In fact, they are offering a VR extension of What Lies Within at Dragon & Meeple, called Lies Within, for guests to try on select nights, now through November 3rd. And there are other stories being worked on for the future as well.
Meanwhile, Alt Delete runs Wednesdays through Sundays from now through November 24th, with select dates already sold out. Get your tickets before the rest are wiped from time. Whether you need maintain your Delusion fix or want to sample a small taste of Delusion for the first time, Alt Delete provides a great platform for a captivating time. We can’t wait to see what happens next in the world of The Blue Blade and the realm of Delusion!
Architect. Photographer. Disney nerd. Haunt enthusiast. Travel bugged. Concert fiend. Asian.