At some point in Keight Leighn’s Bedrumplai, she and I are crouched on the floor opposite each other, looking at swirls of crystals and stones laid out in circles between us. Have you ever done magic before? she asks, peering over at me. I think for a moment. It’s been a long time. She lowers her voice to a whisper, then, and smiles, her face opening like a curtain that’s been hiding a soft light.
Both Keight and her costar for Bedrumplai, Shayne Eastin, have been mainstays of the Los Angeles Immersive theatre scene as it’s gained momentum in the past few years, starring in productions for Delusion, Zombie Joes Underground Theatre, The ABC Project¸ and more. With Bedrumplai, Leighn once again forays into the intimate, self-reflective elements that made 2018’s Snow Fridge such a meaningful journey. Where Snow Fridge was a multi-actor, collaborative effort, Bedrumplai is a pared down production that manages to emanate a stunning level of intimacy by stripping itself down to the simplest tenants of immersive theatre: one actor, one audience member, limitless possibility.
I begin on a couch with Shayne’s character, discussing dreams and chasing desires within them and how both a dream and a desire can seem so fleeting—the sort of late night chat you can only have with your closest friends. I am comfortable with her immediately, instinctively coiling my legs beneath me and leaning in to hear her speak. Eastin is remarkable here; she’s so versatile and open in her performance—she doesn’t perform so much as she becomes—that the kinship she establishes with her guest is instant, lingering instead where a dream might fade.
Keight’s character lives in the proper “bedroom” portion of Bedrumplai, a lush, colorful landscape that deeply reflects Leighn’s otherworldly aesthetic. In this room, I consider my own desires, how they help and hurt me, as soft music plays. Keight enters here like a warm, glowing beam, enveloping the space. Her commitment to her guests shines so strongly in this piece that I imagine her creative process is that of a creature so filled with humanity and passion that it pours out from her in waves of art.
Bedrumplai isn’t for guests seeking a firm narrative or a challenging puzzle, but you will be challenged. Leighn and Shayne’s roles here feel heavily influenced by their experiences as actors within an immersive space; they rely on the sometimes awkward spaces between dialogue to connect with their audience, or force the audience to connect with themselves. I smiled instinctively in the quiet as I sat with Shayne, and later felt my breath and beating chest slow and calm as I touched palms with Keight. There is a realness here that transcends theatre.
Maybe it’s that realness that truly affected me; I was able to slot so easily into to the lives of these women that the scenes laid out for me may as well have occurred in my own home. Bedrumplai, Leighn, and Eastin use their bare-bones immersive approach to force attendees to feel present, to challenge their perception of their place in the world around them as they curl up in bed—the safest place in the world. I end my evening out of breath and giggling, having cast strange spells on a bedroom floor, and maybe one step closer to making my own magic. It’s as if I fell into that same dream about chasing desire that Shayne spoke of but tonight, just this once, held tight to it as it threatened to flit away.