The Harvest

Produced by Last Call Theatre

The Look Club
6 min readDec 5, 2023

Experienced in Los Angles ~ December 2023

A scene with Martha during The Harvest. (Photo credit: Eugene Shvarts)

The Experience & How it Works:

The Harvest is an immersive theatre experience in which participants assume the role of visitors to the town, the first visitors allowed entrance to the festival in the last century. When you arrive, you’re escorted inside, given a couple of key pointers and encouraged to mingle with the townsfolk of Windsor Grove. You may be asked to do something by or for one of the characters. After an unexpected incident occurs at the Harvest Festival, you are encouraged to confer with a townsperson of your choice.

During the performance, you engage regularly with the performers and the other participants. You perform tasks, offer advice and make decisions that effect both your storyline and the ending of the show as a whole.

The invitation particpants receive.

Why it’s Interesting, IMHO:

When magical influences are revealed at the top of the Harvest Festival that audience members are “attending,” it’s up to them to decide whether to eradicate magic forever or return it to its former power in the town. This level of agency is exciting, as is the high potential of being in the presence of magic. After all, the press release shares that, “Each night, participants will be transported to a town of mystery, magic, and intrigue where everyone is suspected as a potential witch.”

The show boasts over 50 quests, multiple story paths, and countless potential endings. And the marketing materials boast that each performance of The Harvest features an entirely unique story depending on the audience’s choices. The question is whether having all these options translates to a participant wanting to come back to experience the show a new way.*

Last Call productions is known for giving the audience the agency to affect the world around them, with every individual’s choices having a lasting impact on the narrative. Audiences become a part of the story, making every performance unique.

Initial Impression & Critical Discussion:

Last Call Theatre did an excellent job. Upon arrival, there are folks present to guide you into the courtyard, check you in and escort you into the venue, whispering instructions as they guide you. The tip to find a character that intrigues you and stick with them was both helpful and reassuring. It gives you a goal upon arrival, a reason to get to know the various townsfolk. The narrative is collaborative enough that, even if you attend on your own, you’ll soon find a place in the action and other “visitors” to engage with.

The audience’s role is clear and consistent: you are a visitor to the town. It sounds simple, but not all shows do it so easily, or at all.

The choices the audience makes are, in our experience, rather informed. While it’s not possible to know all the consequences—nor would we want to—as a visitor, you are presented with enough information to make decisions that feel reasoned as opposed to arbitrary. This helps the choices avoid feeling gimmicky and reinforces the agency of the participant.

While it wasn’t immediately apparent how our story influenced the outcome, conversations with other participants after the show shed some light on how, if we’d encouraged our character to act otherwise, it might have changed the entire course of the narrative. In some ways, knowing this makes the show even more satisfying. As it was, even prior to learning this, it was clear that the main ending—that the participants all came back together for—did have some bearing on our character. It made us feel like the decision we’d made was a good one under the circumstances and helped our character feel resolute in it... and go through with it. Had the main ending played out differently, our character may have made a different decision.

Many immersive shows boast that one can come back to the show multiple times and have a completely different experience. Often times the real lure of this marketing hook—and one that rarely gets us to actually return—is that we feel like we didn’t understand the story, didn’t fully get a story, or are missing key pieces of information. The Harvest avoids this pitfall and, rather than making you feel like you have to come back to make sense of what was happening, entices you to come back to get more—a different, equally complete story.

Visitors mingling with the townsfolk of Windsor Grove before the Harvest Festival begins.


  • Play Favorites. For a satisfying story experience, pick one character and stick with them throughout the evening.
  • Be Foot-Friendly. Attendees will be on their feet for most of the show. While only minimal walking is required (e.g., around the space), you’ll be happiest if you wear shoes that are comfortable to stand in for a couple of hours. (Also, it’s DTLA, so you may have to walk a few blocks to and from your car, or the Metro.)
  • Consider a Menu. The Harvest offers a “Narrative Accessiblity Menu” for “newcomers unfamiliar with immersive theater who wish for a clearer guide or for those who are uncomfortable with open-world choices and wish for a bit more structure.” It lists the characters and hints at the storyline each one engages in. While the menu does contain some spoilers, it’s also a nice way of ensuring that you’re engaged in a storyline that suits your interests. It also offers practical advice, such as which storylines involve bright/flashing lights (“epilepsy warning”) and which characters go upstairs (“wheelchair inaccessible”).

Experiential Viewpoint Expression (E.V.E.):

Embodied, 1st person visual, 1st person narrative, participant, mortal.

Story Anchor:

When Father Gabriel announces that there will be a witch trial later that night, Violet pursues a course of action—with the help of a few willing visitors to the town—that would allow her to leave the town should she choose, and then what happens at the trial helps her make a final decision.

Each character has their own storyline and, accordingly, their own story anchor. The above story anchor was written for the storyline that we experienced in previews. Storylines may change before opening night and may not be the same every night. Additionally, we have written the above story anchor to be as vague as possible so as not to spoil any key elements of the story for future attendees. We hope that including a story anchor gives potential audience members a sense of the show and what types of roles they may play in the action; the “few willing visitors” are attendees of the performance.

Pillars of Game:

Voluntary Participation — check!

Goal — to support the desires of the character you befriend.

Rules — none.

Feedback — performers will react in character to what you say and do.

Conclusion: This isn’t quite a game, though it may be closer than we suspected … We’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments.

Who Should Experience This?

Anyone who loves the idea of being part of a theatrical experience and engaging with performers and fellow audience members. We would recommend this show even for those who might be skeptical of immersive theatre; it’s quite well done.

*IMHO, in this show, it does. 🥰



The Look Club

Eve Weston and Jessica Kantor created The Look Club to discusses immersive media through their site and reviews of immersive stories.