On Saturday, Oct. 26, I hopped in my car and drove to Philadelphia to experience a totally new Halloween experience that involved theatrics, hidden rooms and a little bit of booze.
Through a dark alleyway, a door was propped open to what looked like an abandoned warehouse. A man welcomed me into a dark corridor and I headed up a set of stairs where the main attraction was stationed: Dark Passage.
An open bar was positioned to the right of the portal to obscurum. I snagged a ghoulish cocktail, courtesy of Fergie’s Pub, and entered the portal strewn with fluffy cobwebs and illuminated by glowing white lights. Eventually, I came to a fork in the road to choose the path of “chaos” or “order.” Although I am a huge proponent of all things chaotic, I ventured toward “order” after a bit of advice from the gatekeeper.
I followed the path to a room with many books. I was greeted by a character named Amelia, whose was a visitor at obscurum. Amelia admitted to opening the portal to obscurum. I wasn’t quite sure why, but she was trying to close it once again. She told me all about her research on souls, then led me to another room where I spoke to Lucretia.
Lucretia lived in obscurum. She told me about the well of souls, which is where souls go after they die. The reason why the portal needed to be closed? Energy was spilling out into the living world, and slowly draining obscurum of power.
While Lucretia was talking to more visitors to obscurum, I found a hole in one of the walls, so I stepped through. I was greeted by a girl with bright, pink hair named Sarah. What I stepped into was a room of hidden truths. Secrets of Amelia were stored in this room. Sarah handed me a pen and paper and asked me to write a secret that I was ashamed of. I won’t tell what it was, but it was stapled to the wall and left for all of obscurum to see.
Following the trail through the rest of obscurum, I was led to a room with drawings of torture methods and greeted by a man named Finder. The room was Amelia’s: the drawings were the findings of her research. Finder knew about Amelia’s secret: she killed a man named Isaac in the same way that her mother was killed.
Each of those surrounding Amelia had different objectives. Lucretia was afraid Amelia might want to kill her after Amelia learned the truth. Finder seemed to hope that if Amelia faced the truth, she would be able to learn from her wrongdoings. Ava urged Amelia to embrace her truth: she was a killer.
By the end, all of the characters had met and Amelia learned her truth. Strobe lights flashed and Amelia had a crazed look in her eye before Ava took her off—and visitors to Dark Passage were left to fill in the blanks.
Dark Passage was conceived by University of Pennsylvania alumni Sarah Elger, who has designed theme park attractions for Disney and Universal Creative. It’s very cool to have such a creative and talented individual in the city of Philadelphia.
As a producer, Ricky Brigante helped to bring the production to life. Although spooky season is almost over, he dropped a few hints that more from pseudonym productions is to come in the greater Philadelphia area.
No, Dark Passage was not a haunted house. It was theater without the stage, where the audience is a part of the show — and I cannot wait to go back.
Kirsten Magas is a fourth-year student majoring in English with minors in journalism and creative writing. KM868219@wcupa.edu.