Hidden Realms' ASCEND Receives The Encore! Producers' Award And Extends
After a successful run at the Hollywood Fringe Festival, Ascend: When Myths Fall, Heroes Rise received the Encore! Producers' Award and has extended for two more performances. The Encore! Producers' Award is given to the shows that represent the best of the Hollywood Fringe Festival, based on artistic merit and commercial potential.
Ascend, a fully immersive and interactive experience, received rave critic and audience reviews at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. As a result of the replayability of the show, many audience members returned to the show for a second time, going on different quest lines, playing more games and continuing to fight for the gods of their alignment.
Ascend revolves around the idea that the audience participants are demigods, the lost children of four great mythological pantheons (Greek, Egyptian, Maya, & Chinese). The gods call upon their children to save them from an ancient threat, but some of the gods have their own plans for this rising power. Throughout the night, audience members go on quests to find the truth about the gods, prove themselves in divine challenges and ultimately decide how this story ends. With over 32 scripted ending combinations based on the audience's interactions and choices, participants control the narrative.
"If you attended the Alita: Battle Angel experience, Ascend offers similar team-based challenges, but more in-game story," says No Proscenium critic Juliet Bennet Rylah. "If you've done one of the large-format SCRAP escape games, Ascend has a similar structure, but with less pencil-and-paper work."
Ascend offers audience members a chance to be the hero of their own story. With 19 gods to interact with and multiple quest-lines and games, it is impossible to complete everything in one night. However, that freeform, non-linear nature has been one of the most popular aspects with participants.
"A fun blend of immersive theater, carnival, RPG, and history, Ascend puts you into the shoes of Unnamed Hero and let's you do what you will with your time among the gods," says one fringe reviewer. "Playful and fun, the biggest strength comes from the lack of linear structure, giving the audience ample time to gather what story or experience they wish."
Called "one of the most enjoyable family-friendly productions that I've seen so far in both Fringe and Los Angeles" by Erik Blair of Haunting.net, Ascend is one of the few immersive and interactive shows in Los Angeles that is easily accessible for families.
With Ascend's unique replayability, the fun does not have to end after just one night. Nightmarish Conjurings critic Sarah Musnicky says, "Ascend: When Myths Fall, Heroes Rise is an extraordinarily fun experience that can be repeated time and time again with different results." Because of the expansiveness of the experience, participants are encouraged to return and explore new quests and storylines they missed the first time around.
Ascend performs twice more, with performances on Friday, July 12th and Friday, July 19th. Tickets and more information on the show can be found on the Hollywood Fringe Festival site at http://hff19.org/6193
About Hidden Realms
Hidden Realms is a LA-based, immersive experience company dedicated to creating worlds where participants can become the heroes of their own stories. The award-winning Ascend: When Myths Fall, Heroes Rise is its first performance at the Hollywood Fringe Festival. You can follow Hidden Realms on Facebook and Instagram @hiddenrealmsimmersive to learn more.
About the Director
Jack McCarthy is a director and producer hailing from Los Angeles. He has directed at various theaters across the country, including The Adirondack Theatre Festival, Southern Rep, Bloomington Playwrights Project, and Pasadena Playhouse, where he also assisted Tony-nominated director Randy Johnson. At fifteen, he founded his own nonprofit theater organization, GIFT, with the mission to bring live performance to hospitalized individuals unable to experience it regularly. He continues to serve as GIFT's Executive Producer in New Orleans and the California Bay Area, where he also lectures on the importance of the arts at universities and high schools. In addition to theatre, Jack directs immersive themed entertainment experiences. Notable directing credits include: Stage Kiss (Paul Backer Production Award), Heathers (National Youth Arts Best Direction Nominee), Into the Woods, The Oregon Trail, The Illusion, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Immersive Themed Entertainment Credits: Demon Rising, The Witching Hour and Alohomora: Unlock the Wizarding World. Education: University of Southern California BA Theatre Directing, BS Business Administration. British American Drama Academy, London.