Immersive experience asks What Will You Do in the Shadows?

Wellington's waterfront has been turned into the country's biggest vampire party for a mysterious - and freaky - night out.

Part film set, part theatre, part choose-your-own-adventure, Second Unit revisits the world of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement's iconic Kiwi film What We Do in the Shadows - and needs a mortal audience to join in.

"This works more like an art gallery, where you can walk into a room, experience things as you want, and essentially pick your own path," says performance director Stella Reid.

It's the first in a three-year series by the "immersive experience" group, and brings the undead world of What We Do in the Shadows back to life.

"I do all sorts of naughty things with people and blood, dance quite a lot," says Yvette Parsons, who spends an hour every day getting into costume, and another in hair and makeup to play one of Second Unit's vampires.

"You're seeing characters from the film being exploded and built on, and there's also the digital element whereby everything is part of the film, you are in the film, and you get to see yourself onscreen," says Reid.

Back in 2014 a documentary crew was invited to film a group of vampires. Spoiler alert, things didn't exactly go to plan.

Some of the vampires aren't happy with how the original movie turned out, so want to film it again, and need some warm-blooded volunteers to be extras. Surely it can't go wrong again - right?

Taking more than 1500 hours to build, the experience is the first of its kind in New Zealand. The audience can interact with everything and everyone around them - or simply sit down in a replica of the original film's set with a drink and watch it all unfold.

"A sense of curiosity I think is really important," Reid says. "The world is what you make of it as well, so what you put in will be what you get out."

"We're creating this world for them to just explore, so it's never the same twice," says Parsons.

"There's all sorts of treasures to find. If you open the right door, you might find the most wonderful world that maybe nobody else found that night."

The show encourages audiences to re-think what a stage is, blurring the lines between what's real and what's not.

"Usually there's applause at the end and that's all you get. But you get to see in the moment when things land, and when audiences are thrilled, surprised, terrified," says Reid.

Newshub only made it out alive after promising not to give too much away - but if you're after something unique, it's an event you can really sink your teeth into.

Second Unit runs until June 30 at Wellington's Circa Theatre.


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