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The Witnessing

the unmarked door · Ages 18+ · flashing lights · world premiere · United States of America

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Review by anonymous

June 19, 2018 certified reviewer

What I liked

The cipher was a nice idea, and the final sequence was a fairly fun way to wrap up.

What I didn't like

Essentially, the conceit of the show – “lecturers talking about a famous haunting, and getting haunted in the process” – was clear in the first five minutes. After that, it was 45 minutes of repetition. Something spooky happens; they are a bit taken aback, but continue. Something spooky happens; they don’t notice, though the audience does, and they continue. There was very little escalation, and at times the spooky events were more confusing than otherwise. The pace and tone felt level to the point of flatness.

There was no story context. One of the lecturers appeared to be a skeptic and the other appeared to be a believer, so what brought them together to lecture about this? They don’t really seem to share a common thesis! Specificity would have been this show’s friend: if they were promoting a book they’d written on the subject, if they were trying to con or scam people, if they were known TV personalities who investigated the paranormal, etc.- anything – it just would have made more sense. It would also have helped if we knew why we, the audience were there – casting us as reporters, as fellow researchers, as ticketholders to a psychic event not realizing they’re there to be conned…anything. The whole framework for the scenario was messy and vague.

The staging of certain moments of anticipation wasn’t thought through. For example, we were permitted to take pictures of, inspect, and touch various items before the show began. Later, those items were handed around the room. The actors then tried to spook us about taking and touching the items…but…we’d already touched them at the beginning of the show. The moment for any apprehension had passed.

I know this show worked for some people, so it’s possible I just happened to attend on the wrong night. But I was deeply disappointed.

My overall impression

Unfortunately, this didn’t come together for me. I might have gone on an “off” night, but the show that I got was just trudging through the motions.

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