When you first enter the Obfuscia, you may be given a talisman to ward off bad energy. And you may be asked offered a flower or a chocolate cigarette from a candy striper. Once you step foot inside, however, it’s probably best to leave your expectations in 2017.
The Obfuscia Hotel is the latest immersive theatrical event from Foma Labs, a company whose founders previously played a role in San Francisco’s Latitude Society. While Latitude was a sprawling, evolving, and exclusive affair — one discussed most frequently in whisper and constructed as an ongoing experience — the Obfuscia is a single evening event open to any who wish to purchase a ticket and travel back to the 1940s.
The hotel’s inaugural soiree was held at the Battery earlier this month. Various rooms of intrigue were established across the club’s upper floors, including the posh penthouse space and even a room that exists behind a bookshelf. In the course of the evening, one might be invited to a séance or stumble into the dark auspices of a forest — they were seemingly surprises at every turn. The only requirement was a willingness to embrace the unknown.
Whether you wish to take audience with a magician whose illusions are nothing short of astounding or grab a photo that may feature a ghostly cameo, the concept behind Obfuscia is more of a dealer’s choice proposition where one can decide what to explore than a structured linear narrative. The dress code, which encourages guests to dress “in evening wear that is classic, formal, timeless, and open to interpretation” adds to the atmosphere that you’ve arrive somewhere otherworldly.
For any who may worry about being thrust into the action or made uncomfortable by some of the more intense extremes immersive experiences can sometimes offer — L.A.’s Tension project being a prime example — fear not. Here, a good cocktail and the freedom to roam are just as pivotal to your enjoyment of the Obfuscia as any specific moment you might eventually wander into.
As is the case with hotels that exist outside of time and space, the Obfuscia will manifest itself at a new location on April 21-22, this time taking residence in the Mission’s Laundry Gallery and Café. While the auspices of the Battery were a perfect complement to the 1940s attire and throwback atmosphere of the Obfusica during its first run, one can only imagine how the performance will embrace its new home.
The official description for the upcoming evenings promises “a large and talented cast of local artists, technomancers, psychics, performers, and alchemists.” As with any immersive experience worth its salt, one can also expect a surprise or two. Let’s just say you should make sure to have some celery while you’re there.
Obfuscia: Déjà Vu, April 21-22, 8 p.m., at The Laundry Gallery & Café, 3359 26th St., $40-$100, eventbrite.com/e/obfuscia-deja-vu-tickets-33288777630.