For three weekends in June and July, Shadow of the Run is letting the Cleveland Torso Murderer loose in Bedford. This callback to a time of terror is part of DreamWalkers, Shadow of the Run’s new immersive theater performance that tells the story of Chloe, a girl who finds herself traveling between the 1930s and a more contemporary time in a dream world. Chloe’s story is told in an unconventional way, as the 60-minute production takes the audience through both indoor and outdoor settings along with story paths that audience members must choose between. The show runs on June 25-27, July 1-3 and July 9-11, with performances running every 15 minutes from 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m. Before you go see Chloe try to fight through her dream world, here are some things to know.
There’s a torso cycle: While Chloe is a new character for Shadow of the Run, the time period isn’t, as DreamWalkers is a side story in the theater company’s torso trilogy, which so far consists of two in-person productions WanderLust and Railroaded done in 2019 and The Torso Bookclub, which was done over Zoom in spring 2020. It will also include two more productions titledCalloused and Kingsbury Run. “A lot of the torso murderer’s victims were never identified so we’re trying to give life to the victims through these characters,” says director Dan Hendrock. “We’re able to take some artistic liberties and give a voice to these people who never had a voice.”
Every performance is different: No two DreamWalkers performance are like another — and that’s exactly how the Shadow of the Run team wants it. While the first two-thirds of the show are outdoors, things change once the performance goes inside, as audience members have to make a choice between which storylines they want to follow. “You can come back to the show multiple times and have a different experience each time,” says Shadow of the Run co-owner Adam Kern. “That’s pretty par for the course for immersive theater. We want you to go to your friends after the show and compare notes because some people will see a completely different story.”
It’s a truly immersive performance: Don’t go to DreamWalkers expecting to get some time off your feet, as audience members will have to do a moderate amount of walking and stair-climbing during the performance. That’s only the beginning of the immersion. “If you attend the show you’re going to be in the middle of the action,” Kern says. “The characters are going to talk to you and interact with you. It’ll be as if you’re their confident, lover or enemy; you’re going to be part of the narrative.”
The show is built into Bedford: With so much time off between in-person productions (19 months, to be exact), Shadow of the Run wanted to go all out for DreamWalkers. With the help of Bedford’s city administration, they’ve been able to. Not only is the show’s production built around downtown Bedford (it starts in Bedford’s city square and then moves throughout the city’s downtown), but the indoor section is also Bedford-born, as local restaurant owner Brett Holycross of Sierna's Cafe is letting them use an old house he owns for the final section. “It’s been so amazing to work with a city that welcomes us with open arms,” Hendrock says. “We wouldn’t have been able to do this production with all the help from Bedford.”
It’s vague on purpose: Right now, not much is known about Chloe’s story. That’s on purpose. Since Shadow of the Run started, the company has have purposefully been vague about the content of the performances. That trend continues with DreamWalkers. “We want people to go into this knowing nothing while also being prepared for anything,” Hendrock says. “We like to maintain that sense of mystery.”