You Can Explore A Faux Dead Person's Life Through Their Storage Unit In This Immersive LA Show
Update: The Nest has announced another two-month extension of its run, with tickets from March 7 through May 3 available here starting at noon Pacific on Thursday, Feb. 20.
What do you call an escape room where you don't have to escape? That's the vibe of The Nest, which its creators describe as "an immersive experience." It's a piece of immersive theater, a game that takes you through intricately crafted sets. In it, you explore a unit in a 1920s-era Mid-City L.A. storage building.
The experience begins before you arrive. You get a packet in the mail -- it includes a letter explaining that you've just won an auction for the storage unit of a woman who passed away and left no heirs. It also includes a key for you to unlock that storage unit and begin to explore.
You show up at a Mid-City L.A. street corner. There's a phone number on the notice you got in the mail -- you call it and you're greeted by someone who (in-game) works for the storage company. You get a rundown of what you'll need to know for the experience, then enter a large warehouse.
Take the dramatic freight elevator up to the sixth floor, and you get the chance to use that key you came with to open Josephine Carroll's storage room. The creators said they were inspired by experiential video games like Gone Home, Firewatch, and What Remains of Edith Finch -- the experience isn't about a game, it's about diving into a woman's life. The Nest is like those games come to life.
Watch what the experience of entering is like in this preview video:
Now you're inside The Nest, complete with a wonky, flickering flashlight that's set up to drop you into darkness every so often. You discover cassette tapes Josie recorded, telling the story of her life through a series of intimate moments, beginning with her childhood in the 1960s. You'll find locks that require keys or codes, which you also discover along the way.
We won't spoil the details of that story, but suffice it to say you'll hear voices other than Josie's as you explore. The storage room is filled with period-specific props, from old Time magazines to long-forgotten board games.
There are some light supernatural elements. Portions of the game are scored, with a layer of fog greeting you when you first arrive. As you delve deeper into the storage room, some portions of it seem... impossible, with outside elements on the inside, or parts that seem to transport you into places from Josie's own past.
We're not gonna lie, it's a little spooky. But there are no actors ready to jump out at you, and the darkness of the story comes more from human drama than the macabre.
Whether you choose to bring a partner with you or not, you're never fully alone -- you'll discover an old telephone that's somehow wired up within The Nest, with someone from the storage company also investigating strange goings-on related to the facility. It's also a setup so that you're never too lost, finding that just as you get stuck somewhere, they're ready to give you a call to give you just the push you need. (There may be some digital eyes watching you as you progress...)
The Nest was created by L.A. theater company Scout Expedition Company. They first staged the experience in 2017, but after selling out a six-month run, they held a Kickstarter to bring back a newly redesigned and expanded version.
Going back to its video game roots, The Nest even includes something that's like a real-life expansion pack. It's the immersive theater version of DLC; an extra room that those Kickstarter backers get to explore. It expounds on some of the same themes as the main experience, along with its own cassette tape, membership cards, and a chance to share a little something yourself.
The unique event only allows two people to participate at a time. Their initial three-month run was sold out, but they've announced a two-month extension through February 2020. Tickets run $110 for a one- or two-person slot, or $150 including bonus materials.