For the past couple of months, I have spent the majority of my limited free time searching for someone who was once close to me, a person who I’ve forgotten due to something known as the “forgetting sickness”. In what has been an emotional whirlwind while trying to find this person, I have been forced to look deep within and outside of myself. This has led to tears, unhealthy mental habits resurfacing, and lots of nights wondering, “Why the hell am I still here?”
I do know that I will not stop until I have found him. This leads me to a question I need to ask all of you: “Have you seen Jake?”
What is Have You Seen Jake?
Have You Seen Jake (HYSJ), at its most stripped down, is an experimental, immersive theater project that will leave you, in my opinion, raw and laid open to the world. The experience itself is highly organized and is customized for each participant. The level of customization varies depending on how much each participant puts in. Each participant is a part of a search party looking for Jake and each experience a significant level of interaction with the various characters through phone calls, text messages, e-mails, small group interactions, and fully realized events and experiences.
Have You Seen Jake explores various complicated and mature themes such as abuse, failure, addiction, etc. Through character interactions and mind boggling storytelling, some of these themes are explored through an almost child-like lens. In some ways, this exploration softens the blow that these themes can have for people. In other ways, it can bring back painful memories that we’d rather forget.
While there is a story surrounding finding Jake, each person has a role in the story. A word of advice from someone who has pushed against the story and has overanalyzed more of the story than is needed – just let it be.
There are three fully realized paid events. Therapy & Dreams and Water & Fire have both concluded, leaving one more event speeding quickly towards us – Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Each event serves to further the storyline while also creating a beautiful and emotional experience for the participants involved.
Although the search is slowly approaching to its conclusion, you can still participate in the Search. If you are interested in being involved, check out their website here and email Blue at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Who is Jake?
Jake is an amazing and complicated individual. He is immensely creative. He really likes giraffes. He likes to travel and hopes to go to Greenland some day. He likes old movies and, from my experience, has no problem recommending things for you to read and watch. He is also someone we’ve forgotten.
Please read more about Jake here.
Why did you decide to participate in Have You Seen Jake?
This question is one that I have been asked repeatedly since joining. Each participant has their own reason for joining the Search. In my case, I had multiple reasons.
- Challenging myself. As an ASD individual with an auditory processing disorder, I frequently force myself out of my comfort zone to see where I am in terms of development, etc. For a one night event, usually I know what accommodations I personally need to make in order for me to adjust accordingly to the scenarios happening around me. Participating in Have You Seen Jake has forced me to find ways to adapt to the constant feeling of overwhelming as well as allowed me to find more creative ways to process the information we are given without my usual go-to methods. This immersive experience has taught me more about my handicaps and has allowed me to formulate strategies to allow myself ways to better process information. Another way I wanted to challenge myself was allowing myself to become more mentally open and share. Due to the heavily personalized nature of the event, I wanted to see how open I could become in order to see how that act would transform my own experience of the event. So far, I have not been successful at that. The experience is not yet done, however, so there is still time.
- The Story. I am obsessed with good stories and, after hearing all of the good things that my partner expressed about the experience, I finally gave in and joined. Even if I did not participate fully, I would still be able to see a story unfold that would leave me wanting more. That being said, the story of Have You Seen Jake has so many twists and turns and is full of so much hidden depth. I am in love with the story, even if I am scared of how it will conclude itself.
Have You Seen Jake is an experience full of ups and downs. It will leave you physically and emotionally naked, stripped bare and aching at times. You will want to run away. You will feel hurt. You will want to reach out and try to rescue Jake through your LED-lit phone screen. Despite all of this, you will experience the most enlightening and, in some ways, empowering story you may run across in your lifetime.