Tag Archive | "theatre"

Carmilla Theatrical Play Review

Posted on February 2, 2011 by

A beautiful young girl, alone in desolate Central Europe. Nightmares. Revenge. Mesmerism. Rationality eroding under the stress of supernatural evil, murder, and disease. Blood. Mere swords against the preternatural strength of the undead. And the world’s first lesbian vampire.

Got your attention? J. Sheridan LeFanu brought these elements together in 1872 — 25 years before Bram Stoker’s Dracula — in his novella “Carmilla”, a story that subtly tilts between the nightmarish Gothic terror-tale and today’s “realistic” horrors set firmly in the waking world. Generations later, Chicago’s Wildclaw Theatre company has adapted “Carmilla” for the modern stage. [Full disclosure: I wrote a short essay, pro bono, on LeFanu for the program book for this production.] Wildclaw’s Carmilla is the latest in a series of adaptations including Machen’s “The Great God Pan,” Lovecraft’s “Dreams in the Witch House,” and William Peter Blatty’s Legion that makes Wildclaw Chicago’s — and perhaps America’s — leading missionary of classic horror to contemporary theater audiences.

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The Revenants Theatrical Play Review

Posted on May 20, 2009 by

revenants_final_smChicago’s Wildclaw Theatre company takes, as its mission, the restoration of horror to its rightful place on the stage. Its previous productions include theatrical adaptations of Arthur Machen’s “The Great God Pan” and H.P. Lovecraft’s “Dreams in the Witch House,” showing a solid grounding in the classics. Their newest show is the Midwest premiere of Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants, a drama of love and zombies.

Without spoilering anything, I can say that the play is a thoroughly successful melding of the relationship drama and the zombie apocalypse; neither component was bolted on after the fact, and each provides vital momentum and plot turns for the other. WildClaw’sWitch House also concerned apocalypse, though interestingly a less personal — and more cataclysmic — one than Lovecraft’s story. It, also, featured a relationship drama, although one cast as a parallel investigation; a despairing Thin Man story wherein Nick and Nora meet only for the catastrophe.

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