Live theater is a place where the things that happen, are right in front of you. A theatrical performance is for all the senses. You can see it, (in this case briefly) smell it, hear it, almost touch it and you will definitely feel something. Zombie Joe’s Urban Death Tour of Terror experience has been a staple in the LA theater world for many years. I first saw a performance at ScareLA probably 4 years ago and even if I didn’t totally understand it- the visions stayed in my head. The nightmarish vignettes in question are not necessarily pleasant, but with all performance art, if it left an impression, it did its job.
2016’s Urban Death Tour of Terror is no exception. The experience starts in a mini maze as we walked in. With only the light from a very dim flashlight to guide us, the walk is very disturbing. Hearing people scream in front of me added to the tension. We could hardly see what we feared in the almost total darkness, but I know there was at least one clown and a naked, bloody girl bound up with plastic wrap.
Once inside the intimate black box theater, you can sit wherever you want outside the caution tape on the floor. As soon as I got seated on the floor I could see the show had begun somewhat. There was large bag, writhing on the floor, with what could be one or two people seemingly trying to get out.
As we went from one black-out vignette to another, I could feel many things from the rest of the audience. We all felt disturbed and uncomfortable from the pure creepiness of each scene. A girl in bunny pajamas in a terrible situation, a macabre dance with a bloody corpse, a man watching longingly from his window at school children at play, and the lighting fast ending that left the audience in the front row out of breath. This is just a little of what you can experience there. The awkward feeling of looking into someone else’s nightmare surrounded me. All the abstract images presented were in the same vein, but not really related. The only thing they had in common was they were disturbing scenes of a weird and horrific world, that causes many kinds of pain. Whether it represented abuse, violence, sex or something there is no category for, it was guaranteed to make the audience squirm. Each scene came from the same dark it would fade back into. If you made the mistake of blinking or turning your head at the wrong time you could miss a whole vignette.
As the audience leaves, feeling confused and wondering what they just saw, I know they will not forget it soon. They will talk about it, tell their friends, and analyze each scene to try to get the inner meaning. They may never understand it, but everyone that sees an Urban Death show, will agree you are left with something to think about for a long time.
Urban Death: Tour of Terror continues at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre on Fridays and Saturdays 7:30p/8:30p/9:30p/10:30p/11:30p through November 5, and on Monday, October 31: 7:30p/8:30p/9:30p
Address: 4850 Lankershim Boulevard, North Hollywood, California 91601.
Get more info at: www.urbandeath.com. Tickets are $15. zombiejoes.tix.com
Call (818) 202-4120 for reservations.
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