(N.b.: Mild spoilers for Headlands Gamble follow.)
On paper, Headlands Gamble seems impossible. It’s a fully curated immersive experience for two, carried out over an entire weekend, complete with actors, props, site-specific installations, and a plot that would feel right at home in any pulp noir fiction. With so many moving parts, Headlands Gamble seems like a working lesson in Murphy’s Law. How could anyone find order in this apparent chaos? What does that order look like? What would anyone even call it?
Enter Gabe Smedresman’s First Person Travel, the “immersed-narrative travel agency” behind the production. Alongside a crew of actors, production assistants, and stage managers, Smedresman has curated an unforgettable experience for two in the Marin Headlands just outside San Francisco.
Touching on the clockwork-like precision of such a production, Michael Garcia, First Person Travel’s Immersive Experience Producer, says, “There’s an enormous apparatus behind the scenes working to make sure each traveler has an experience that is not only fun and personalized but also lifts the typical risks and responsibilities of travel from their shoulders, allowing them to focus more deeply on the experiences and the company of their travel companion. It’s extremely satisfying to me when our travelers are delighted and surprised by all the amazing little details of this show.”
True to the “travel agency” vibe their name evokes, First Person Travel combines the novelty of exploring a tourist destination with the most exciting parts of immersive experiences — and as any experience designer can tell you, this alchemy begins with a good story.