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Arts and Entertainment

A Mysterious, Immersive Show Where You're The Only Audience Member

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A mysterious, immersive performance will take you through your birth, alone.

"Fear Is What We Learned Here" popped up just before Halloween, and reached out to visitors to attend their odd haunt in a peculiar way, via Instagram. In a season of haunts and haunted mazes competing to be the weirdest or the scariest, Fear occupied a strange place. Those who went through it reported it to be more surreal than violent—more like a dream than a true nightmare.

According to writer Jeff Heimbuch at HorrorBuzz, he began his experience lying in bed, his senses muted by a mask and headphones. He was eventually led using only a single LED head lamp down a series of foggy tunnels through tableaus and vignettes, while the headphones provided his soundscape. He described the piece as "dark, haunting and beautiful."

Now, they've got another show. This one is called "Parturition," which means to give birth. While Fear was held in La Mirada, Parturition will be held somewhere in North Hollywood. The exact address will be revealed to ticket holders at a future date.

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These shows usually come by way of Screenshot Productions, founded by Nicholas David Sherwin, Jr. and Jarred Laos. Parturition comes from Sherwin only. Those familiar with Los Angeles' haunt scene will find it notable that Sherwin is a project manager for Vortex Productions LLC, which puts on "Blackout." However, don't expect the brutality of Blackout from Parturition.

Parturition is described as an "intensely personal, immersive journey through the beginning stages of the human experience." Those who choose to participate must complete the 25- to 30-minute experience alone and must sign a waiver prior to the event. While you shouldn't be particularly scared as this is more theatre than jump scares, "the birthing process, as well as life in general, is filled with darkness and elements of horror, so just because we are not classified as a 'haunt,' don't expect an entirely peaceful experience," Sherwin told LAist.

Sherwin also said that he hopes participants take away some insight that they can apply elsewhere after finishing the experience.

Participants must be 18, on time and sober at the time of the event, and should alert the team to any health problems. You may experience strobe lights, fog, lasers, enclosed spaces and loud noises. You may be touched, and you may have to crawl. You might be in total darkness at times.

It's hard to say what exactly you might experience beyond that. The website features a T.S. Eliot line: "The dream crossed twilight between birth and dying." You may find additional clues on their @whatwelearnedhere Instagram account. For instance, one post quotes the William Blake poem "Infant Sorrow": "My mother groaned my father wept: into the dangerous world I leapt." "Fear is what we learned here" is, too, a quote from author Marianne Williamson. In it's entirety: "Love is what we were born with. Fear is what we learned here."

Though Screenshot emerged around Halloween, they intend to continue to produce immersive experiences year-round, each exploring a different human emotion.

As I prepare to go on my own journey with Parturition at the end of the month, I am asked to answer several questions about the circumstances of my birth. I still don't know what exactly is going to happen. Will I be put in a giant womb then forced out into a cold, cruel world? Or something else entirely?

Parturition runs Jan 28. though Jan. 31 at various times. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased here.

Related: I Went To An Existential Haunt And Had An Unsettling Yet Relaxing Time

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