Monday, November 19, 2007

Thrilling Theater 

Saturday night I attended a theatrical event in the tradition of Grand Guignol. The name for this theatre style derived from Le Theatre du Grand Guignol, a theater in Paris which opened in 1897, thrilling audiences for decades with tales of terror and comedy.

Thrillpeddlers, a San Francisco-based theater company, continues this tradition each year here. Saturday night was a feast of terror, horror, comedy, and spooky frights and music. Two of the short plays were "terror plays," moody, atmospheric, well-acted pieces that had me cringing and haunted. One play, "Maker of Monsters" first premiered in 1929 at Le Theatre du Grand Guignol. The English adaptation performed last night was chilling indeed. My friend and I sat in a "shock box." Throughout the evening secret panels in it slid out to reveal monster hands, the booth shook at times, and it was an all around spooky, delightful evening to be had.

As an added bonus, we had the utterly fantastic Jill Tracy in the house, who sang us two songs and played on the player piano. I was first introduced to her music at SpookyCon in 2003. Bill Domonkos had created a visual feast of chiaroscuro and animation to her song "The Fine Art of Poisoning," which screened there.

posted 7:39 PM


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