Ingredients: Oil of Boil, Saliva of Newt, Dead Man’s Toes, Blood of an Owl, Tongue of Virgin and Red Herb.
Visitors at the Drima Events “Spellbound” immersive theater show toasted glasses of the witchy potion as they celebrated all-things occult at this Friday’s premier event.
“Spellbound,” an interactive, Hocus Pocus-themed Halloween show, is the brainchild of Drima Events, an immersive theater production company run by sisters and Bloomington locals Kate, Holland and Kenzie Colvin.
Wearing long black gowns, witch hats, moon earrings and dark lipstick, the sisters welcomed attendees to the fictional “Bonne Fête Museum of the Occult,” hosted in the gallery space of Bloomington’s Bonne Fête giftshop on Sixth Street. Skeletons, ghost paintings, haunted-looking baby dolls and devilish mannequins lined the walls of the museum.
Holland, Drima Events’ art director and graphic designer, said the sinister décor was courtesy of her sister Kate.
“(Kate) is a ‘spook-a-holic.’” Holland said. “She loves all things creepy, crawly, dark, mysterious. Her whole house is just filled with this creepy stuff year-round.”
During the show, a group of 15 attendees filed into a red-lit room to prove themselves as initiates of the “Spellbound Society,” a club for practicing occultists. The leader for the evening, Mr. Hex, played by local drag performer Walter Bucket, emceed the event, performing spooky lip-syncs and guiding guests through the evening’s plans.
The evening included a variety of occult-themed activities. First, guests who wore witchy outfits participated in a costume contest. Next, attendees were invited to draw their own sigil – a personal symbol thought to have magical properties. Then, guests could choose to partake in potion making or puzzle solving before participating in either a Ouija board or witch séance. Attendees concluded the event with an intimate ceremony and a surprise, witchy finale.
Local drag performer Zariah also performed in the show, as well as the Colvin sisters’ family friend, Cathy Densford – who played the role of the fumbling museum intern and the evening's comedic relief. Densford, who’s known the sisters for years, said she thinks Drima Events is a wonderful testament to the women’s collective creativity.
Each of the sisters manage their own creative role for Drima – with Kate as the head writer and creative director, Holland as the mind behind visuals and Kenzie as the manager of communications.
For Kenzie, working with her sisters is a dream.
“They are the most talented and inspirational people,” she said. “I feel so lucky to have grown up with them. (Drima) is definitely a passion project for all of us.”
Kate said she’s enjoyed working on “Spellbound” because of her love of Hocus Pocus. She noted that the film is a cult-classic within the queer community, especially among drag performers who frequently portray the movie’s Sanderson Sisters. For Kate, it felt like a given to include drag performers in the show.
Kate, who created Drima Events with her sisters after spending years organizing immersive parties for her family and friends, said she wanted to fulfill the lack of immersive theater opportunities in Bloomington.
“There's a huge immersive theater scene in LA and New York,” she said. “It hasn't really reached Middle America yet. But I think it absolutely can. Bloomington is ready for something like that. But there was just nobody really doing that.”
Living in a post-COVID-19 pandemic world, Kate said the desire for spooky activities is higher than ever.
“I feel like there's a reason that scary things thrive when people are scared already,” she said. “It's because there's a catharsis to that. You can express all that fear. And then you've exercised it, and you're not haunted by it anymore.”
She noted that the self-funded company is a labor of love for the sisters. For Kate, Drima Events is the product of blood, sweat and tears.
“We really hope that people feel like they've had an evening of escape and fantasy,” she said. “We're very passionate about what we're doing. We're not doing it to make money. We want to create something really unique.”
“Spellbound” performances will continue Oct. 14-16. Details for showtimes and tickets are available online at Eventbrite.