Yep, we knew the zombie.
It took only seconds to figure out Dayton native David Harewood was the undead menace moaning and trying to eat our brains recently at Room Escape Adventures’ Trapped in a Room with a Zombie in Columbus.
David has been playing host and zombie for the company since August.
Room Escape Adventures’ other interactive show at the Columbus Idea Foundry ( 421 W. State St.) is “Trapped II, Still Hungry.”
The company also has shows in the Cincinnati area at The WEB Extreme Entertainment, 7172 Cincinnati-Dayton Road, West Chester Township.
My friends and I forked over $28 bucks each to be trapped in a room with David, who was playing Doc Oxy —a zombified scientist chained to a wall.
We had 60 minutes to figure out puzzles that would lead to our freedom. David’s chain got a foot longer with every 5 minutes that passed.
Let’s just say we taste like chicken.
David lives in Columbus now, but you might recognize the actor, too.
He attended Sinclair before transferring to Columbia College Chicago in 2003. He came back to town in 2008 after the financial crisis and helped with Dayton Circus Creative Collective, Garden Station, Dayton Side Shows and Yellow Cab.
I caught up with David on Facebook for a quick Q and A.
The prep has been gradual but ongoing. At first I re-watched the original “Night of the Living Dead,” but decided that droning wouldn’t be any fun. There are also specific ways that the Room Escape culture is geared toward a very specific, playful sort.
My guess is that brain probably tastes something like beef tongue —at least I hope it does. I’d like to think that the one organ that controls the rest of the body’s functions is dense and substantial and goes as well with a glass of water as a glass of Cabernet. Then again, I’ve seen people whose brains probably taste better, and probably — sometimes even in the same room — much, much worse.
Everyone who works here has other jobs, as the show normally runs Thursday through Sunday. In other words, I don’t always have to tell people I’m a zombie during half the week unless I go to the grocery store after a show.
With that said, yes, it looks odd on a resume but makes for a great party conversation.
There’s a lot of excitement and potential tension in that room, but it hardly ever gets completely out of control. Early on with them, I was in a show with a group of co-workers during a private party. One of them was so athletic in climbing away from me that his foot accidentally made contact with my nose. (He was eaten soon after.) It was an accident and we resumed the show after I cleaned up, but that’s a very, very rare occurrence.
Things like that are the reason why it’s exciting to be with a company that’s opening so rapidly. Because of incidents like that, everyone implements a funny bit into the host character about not throwing things at the zombie.
There have been many, strange things happen in that room — the nose kicking incident. My favorite moments, though, are when the entire room sings rock songs to me. In November, a woman sang every song she could remember from “Purple Rain” to keep the zombie distracted.