Introducing Orlando's newest attraction: The Republic

By Allison Walker, Entertainment Reporter/Anchor
Last Updated: Tuesday, May 12, 2015, 4:05 PM EDT

There's one big rule within theme parks that a new attraction is breaking: don't touch the guests.

For the first time anywhere, Central Florida locals and tourists get to experience a real life video game without the video game restrictions. The Republic is an interactive theatrical adventure that is not a stage show, not an escape room, and not a thrill ride. Instead, guests become the "players" inside of a huge indoor maze, interacting with improv actors who aren't afraid to grab you.

Every decision you make doesn't just affect you. Your actions can shake up the story of the players around you.

"I don't think anything like this has ever happened before," said Sarah Elger, who calls herself the "Dungeon Master."

Elger is the brains behind the concept.

"I ended up going to architecture grad school at the University of Pennsylvania," she explained. "From there, I learned a lot about space design and people within spaces and how - small spaces, large spaces - how you relate to a space really alters your interaction with each other. So I started bringing in elements of architecture into this world of theater and how does that work together to a larger concept."

But, when it comes down to it, "I'm also a giant nerd!"

With a strong background in theatrical set design and architecture, Elger and her team built nearly 25 rooms. The Republic is in a huge facility tucked away behind Orlando's Ivanhoe Row (near the Thirsty Topher). The theme is inspired by Greek Mythology and Plato's "Republic."

"[But] you don't have to know the story at all," she insisted.

The experience is made up of 3 factions: The Labyrinth, The Republic, and The Office. The Office has a CEO.

"She is so obsessed with Minotaur and Medusa that she actually gets a surgeon to come and alter their faces and their bodies," Elger said, adding, "This room [main image above] is actually Medusa's lair, so this is where she comes and resides."

Non-player actors help guide you through the huge facility. Since you have to react to their improvisation, the "game" has multiple endings. So each visit is wildly different.

TIP: If you enter a room with a bomb-like device in the middle, something bad is going to happen (but it's not what you think). Also, be aware of a cabinet that's large enough for a grown-up to fit into.

The Republic makes its grand public debut May 30. Tickets are $35. But - cool news - you can save $23 during "soft opening" at this year's Orlando Fringe Fest starting Thursday! $11 tickets can be found on the Fringe's website.

Once fully open, The Republic will run nights Thursdays - Saturdays. Elger says her lease runs out at the end of July. It's not known where or if the attraction will move elsewhere after that.