Dacha, a Seattle-based theatre company founded in 2016, specializes in playful and immersive theater, and that’s exactly what they bring to their latest show, “The Veil.”
Created and directed by Nathan Whitehouse, “The Veil” is a show unlike any you’ve likely seen before.
Upon purchasing your ticket, you will be sent a cryptic Craigslist ad vaguely outlining what to expect should you choose to turn up.
The show itself takes place in the historic mansion called Forestledge in Burien’s Seahurst neighborhood, but audience members are directed to arrive at the Seahurst Elementary School parking lot and are bused to the location.
Once on the bus, a man introduces himself as Brock, the poster of the Craigslist ad, and lets everyone know that he has seen them all in his dreams. We are there to help him lift a curse from his friend Lawrence, who has been tormented by a spirit in their dreams all their life but is now seeing the apparition in waking life.
Brock belongs to a magic organization called The Moonlighters that includes him, Lawrence, Alex (the owner of the mansion), and Carter. Our mission is to help them perform a ritual that will release Lawrence from their curse.
With this information, the audience is bussed away and after a short 5-minute ride, arrive at the beautiful Forestledge mansion in Seahurst.
There they are greeted by a harried Carter, worried Lawrence, and easy-going Alex, who all understand that the audience are friends of Brock’s but not entirely sure what we’re all doing there.
Once in the mansion, the audience is free to wander around, look at the various documents and props that are lying about, and interact with the actors playing Carter, Alex, and Lawrence.
In so doing, the audience learns that The Moonlighters have discovered vintage documents in the mansion from an old magical society called The Marble Arch. This group has learned how to call on spirits and travel to a place called “They Beyond.”
Throughout the course of the evening, the audience is given the opportunity to participate in invocations, seances, and spells to help solve the many riddles that arise as we learn more about the Marble Arch and all they were involved in.
The show is less of a narrative and more a choose-your-own adventure, as several parts of the play have audience members split up in no particular order to solve pieces of the puzzle in other parts of the mansion, while others stay behind to continue working on a different riddle.
The play requires collaboration and participation, though no audience member is required to participate beyond their comfort level.
The technical complexity of the show is immense, and clearly extremely well-organized. The cast playing The Moonlighters had the task of keeping the audience on track without giving away what they knew, fully participating with the audience to solve the riddles. Though they had particular verbal marks to hit, the majority of their roles were improv and audience interaction, which they played splendidly.
For those who enjoy mental puzzles and immersive, interactive experience, “The Veil” is a unique theatrical experience and a lot of fun. For those of a more introverted persuasion, it’s more like wandering awkwardly around a dinner party of people you don’t know and have nothing in common with.
The run time is three hours, quite long for any show, and the energy clearly began to wane as the evening wore on. Nevertheless, all was satisfactorily solved in the end as the show wrapped with a happy conclusion and the weary mystery-solvers were bussed back to their cars.
“The Veil” has enjoyed a 4-week run of sold-out shows, Dacha’s most successful yet. While not every show they produce is as interactive as “The Veil,” they do strive to incorporate their values in all their work.
According to Dacha’s website, here’s how they define those values:
- Devised: We build our shows with the unique contributions of everyone in the room; we reimagine existing systems and old narratives, in both the stories we tell and the ways we tell them.
- Immersive: Our audiences are at the heart of our events, exploring the new worlds we create and building meaningful connections with each other from a place of community and joy.
- Playful: We believe that tomorrow could be the best day yet. The worlds we create are full of hope, connection, and empathy. We use laughter as a way to open up to big, maybe scary new ideas.
Dacha believes that Art should be accessible to everyone. All their shows are always ticketed on a sliding scale and have a pay-what-you-can option.
Additionally, Dacha has a subscriber program, also priced on a sliding scale, that offers special perks and benefits including:
- 1 ticket to each show in the 2023-2024 season
- Reserved priority seats/zones
- Surprise gift/treat at each subscriber performance
- Invitation to exclusive opening night receptions with the cast and crew
While the remainder of the 2023-2024 season for Dacha has yet to be announced, it’s clear that surprising, innovative, and creative genius will continue to be produced by this company in shows to come.