Never has the plural "a murder of crows" seemed more apt than in Dump Site, the macabre, mesmerizing new show by Seattle Immersive Theatre. A particularly Northwest blend of dark forests, deep silences, and serial killers, the horror unfolds in three custom-built environments in a warehouse in Sodo, transformed by the company into 8,500 echoing feet of gothic, mysterious, taxidermied menace, replete with cocktails.
Dump Site's plot is classic horror movie: Siblings Reed (Simon Hamlin) and Charlotte (Evelyn DeHais) meet in their late father's storage unit to go through his effects, only to discover a mysterious videotape—featuring the eerie, effective Rebekah Boroughs as a teenage runaway—that shatters their fond memories of Daddy.
The tropes are familiar—unraveling tortured artist, shovel radiating menace in the corner, web of yarn and pins on a conspiracy-theory map, conflation of young female victims with birds—but the reason the show works (and it does, deliciously) is because we're used to watching this stuff on a screen. Dump Site puts us right in the thick of it.
Though the audience isn't called upon to interact (a mercy), we're not just spectators, either. Each audience member dons a black mask in the shape of a hybrid finch/raven—each a beautiful resin cast by Gage instructor Elijah Evenson. (Though the show is ADA compliant, woe is anyone who needs to wear glasses in their mask.) However commonplace they are in such immersive productions (hello, Sleep No More), audience masks are an inspired device. They remove the temptation to watch fellow spectators and heighten the sense of voyeurism, transforming us into a flock of mute, glitter-eyed witnesses peering from corners and through trees. Encouraged to explore the environments and find clues, viewers become scavengers, moving and shuffling like crows to get the best view of the grisly action.