The Story of PENUMBRA

When Shadows Fall is an interactive experience like no other, combining elements of gaming and theater to not only tell a story, but allow audience members (our “Players”) to become part of that story.

This experience goes beyond virtual reality, even beyond real reality, to bring Players into a hyper-real world surrounded by elaborately themed spaces and intriguing, emotionally affective characters. It’s entertainment intended for audiences who are ready to think, feel, and react while simultaneously having a whole lot of fun.

This production shies away from the everyday mass market entertainment of Orlando’s many theme parks and family-friendly attractions, designed specifically with mature audiences in mind, as the story and its content push boundaries of politics, religion, and society to make Players question their own beliefs.

When Shadows Fall tells the story of PENUMBRA, the first harmonious society in human history, seeming to succeed where all prior attempts at utopian life have failed. Hidden in the shadows of Orlando, Florida for 28 years, Penumbra was founded on principles of virtue by K. Alexander, world traveler and philosopher.

Inspired by the radical ideals of Plato’s “Republic,” this secret society ensures every citizen is perfectly habituated by birthright, designated as Gold, Silver, or Bronze. Governing over Penumbra is the Office, a small group of appointed officials acting as guardians of the society to ensure harmony persists.

And so it does. For more than 10 years after its founding, Penumbra thrives as private invitations are extended to select residents of the Outside to expand citizenship. But as the society grows, innate human frailty begins to surface and those with power inevitably abuse it, succumbing to personal vices.

Though each Penumbra citizen puts on the appearance of upholding the society’s founding principles, it’s all a facade as perfection is impossible for humans to reach. Those who live in luxury fill their lives with drugs and sexual deviancy. Desires are taken to an extreme as Alexander’s own son begins experimenting on residents, surgically transforming them into creatures of Greek mythology, the objects of his fantasies.

The Labyrinth is built as a home for these “enhanced” citizens. But as the experiments fail, that supposed home instead becomes their prison as they are exiled from society.

A rendering of one of our in-progress sets: the center of the Labyrinth.
Hunt around this site to find two more renderings, one of
Penumbra’s Chapel of the Light and the other a glimpse into the Office.
Through the genius of one Labyrinth resident, a weapon is created that nearly destroys Penumbra. Its accidental failure allows the Office to seize it and hold it – and its engineer – over the society as a constant threat to create forced harmony.

As Penumbra continues to descend into depravity and nears self-destruction, an attempt at order is made through the erection of a massive panopticon tower, constantly surveilling all residents. A society-wide religion is formed as a thinly-veiled disguise to disseminate a drug to residents, pushing them to work longer hours with heightened concentration.

Alexander distances himself from the extreme actions taken by his society’s guardians, even disowning his own son for having created so much chaos as a result of his pet project. The founder quickly realizes the only way to bring Penumbra back to perfection is to open its doors to the public. An influx of newly habituated citizens would surely restore order and harmony, he believes.

Penumbra is thusly revealed to the world, encouraging Outsiders not satisfied with the constraints of their daily lives to apply for citizenship. And many do, eager to see what life within a perfect society will be like.

But just as these hopeful new residents step into Penumbra for the first time, all is most certainly not well in Penumbra as one major, unexpected event sends all but the top citizens of each caste to their living quarters for safety while those in charge figure out how to handle the disaster at hand while simultaneously dealing with a Penumbra’s first influx of Outsiders.

In a world of secret sins, those with knowledge truly hold the power. Those who have walked the lines between Penumbra’s factions have instantly become the most valuable – and the most dangerous – citizens, perhaps short of only the Engineer, whose knowledge of the weapon could instantly end all who call Penumbra home.

So who emerges as the victor?

There is strength in numbers. The newly admitted citizens of Penumbra truly possess all the power to decide how this supposedly harmonious society thrives – or in what manner it gloriously fails – and who winds up on top of it all.

That is for you to decide.

Get your tickets now to enter Penumbra and experience the unique new form of entertainment that is When Shadows Fall.