Motel 666 Spotlight Interview: Set Designer Sarah Watkins

sarahwToday we get to hear from Motel 666’s set designer, Sarah Watkins. This isn’t Sarah’s first rodeo when it comes to designing motel rooms, but it is her first foray into the horror genre. She opens up about being scared easily, and the exciting things she’s discovered working on the show.

Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
No, not really.  Truthfully, I scare easily when it comes to horror (even action films with too much violence scare me).  If I absolutely had to watch horror, I would probably stick to the classic horror stories as it’s what I grew up on.

What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
I first encountered horror through film thanks to my dad showing my siblings and me Vincent Price films when we were kids.

Does designing for a horror piece present any unique challenges or opportunities? Have you done any horror theatre before, or is this your first time? What is your favorite part about designing for a horror piece (no spoilers!)
I’ve never designed horror theatre before.  It may be obvious to say this, but the challenge of designing horror is to not tip your hand too soon.  Everything is normal until it isn’t.  What seems like a safe place isn’t.  I think my favorite part about designing horror is discovering the “isn’t” as I mentioned earlier.

How have motels played a role in your life?
Professionally, this is the second production I’ve had to design a motel for, which I find fun. Motels have interesting and unique cultural and demographic characteristics that are exciting to explore.  Other than that I’ve only stayed in a motel a couple of times for out-of-town weddings.  It was always fun as it meant being with a lot of friends who are similarly trying to save some money by cramming into motel rooms to cut costs.

What “impossible” design challenge would you like to tackle in a horror play?
I always think that dealing with stage blood is a design challenge.  I wouldn’t call it an impossible design challenge, but it certainly has many involved details that require collective thinking from all areas of production and design.  I’ve had to deal with stage blood a few times, and it’s just messy business.

What is the one thing that scares you the most?
Mascots/clowns.

Motel 666 opens June 5 – get tickets here!

Motel 666 Spotlight Interview: Actor Katie McLean Hainsworth

We’re a little over a week out from the World Premiere opening of Motel 666, and we want to help you get in the mood by getting to know some of the talented artists working to breathe life into this haunting production.

katieOur first volunteer is Katie McLean Hainsworth – no stranger to horror on and off-stage, Katie is a long time fan of monster movies and Stephen King. Today she tells us about her first forays into the genre, and shares some of her darkest fears.

Do you consider yourself a horror fan? What is your favorite genre of horror?
Most. Definitely. I have a brother seven years older than me that inducted me into horror-fandom at far too young an age with Dracula and other monster movies on cable (we were the first family on our block to have cable by about a year). I have no particular favorite sub-genre, but I am a stickler about Rules in Zombie Movies and Such.

What was the first time you encountered horror in entertainment? Was it a book, a movie, a play or something else?
See #1 for my brother introducing me to scary movies, but where I became a real fan was reading Stephen King novels. I also remembering seeing a pretty terrifying stage adaptation of The Hobbit as part of a school trip (I still remember the glowing strands of spider webs drawing with agonizing slowness around the stage…). Another thing that scared/thrilled me as a young ‘un was Mummenschanz. It’s not supposed to be scary. But check it out. ‘Cuz it’s terrifying.

Does acting in a horror piece present any unique challenges or opportunities? Have you done any horror theatre before, or is this your first time? What is your favorite part about being in a horror piece (no spoilers!)
My very first play in Chicago was a campy stage adaptation of George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. I played “Barbra” of “they’re coming to get you” fame. That show was a blast. A year later that same group and I did an original horror show called Demon Diner, which we then remounted a year later. All of these were horror-comedies, so technically, Motel 666 is my true horror stage premiere. My favorite thing about The Fourth Wall is that one could strip all the supernatural elements out of it and you’d still have a very compelling slice of a marriage in trouble and a woman dealing with the trauma of coming out of denial after many many years of building a life around it.

How have motels played a role in your life?
Other than watching Psycho when I was very young and being scarred by the death of Janet Leigh so early on, I can’t say motels have played a role in my life at all. However, I appreciate that even without having spent time in them, they are recognizable piece of Americana.

If you could take on any role in any horror tale what would it be and why?
One of my favorite performances in a horror movie is Nicole Kidman in The Others. But I wouldn’t want to try to do what she did there. I’ve wanted to adapt Stephen King to the stage for a long time and would love to take a crack at Delores Claiborne — but there’s actually very little “horror” in that particular story. So not a great answer, I suppose — sorry!

What is the one thing that scares you the most?
Irrevocable change. The remake of The Fly has always resonated with me — the idea that you can be You one moment, and Not-You the next, never to be You again — that terrifies me. I’m sure that’s rooted in the ultimate fear: the fear of death and dying and being gone forever. Not existing. So yeah. I think zombie stories scare us because their particular brand of apocalypse means that you can never again have freedom. Your life has been irrevocably changed by circumstance into one where you can only ever focus on survival. Where you have to trust other people to help you stay alive. Shudder.

Oh and snakes. Definitely snakes.

 

Motel 666 opens June 5 – get tickets here!

Check into Motel 666 – Opens June 5, 2015

WC_MOTEL_666_4x6_FRONT

The world premiere production of Motel 666 is coming!

GET YOUR TICKETS HERE

Written by Scott T. Barsotti*, Christopher Hainsworth*, Ele Matelan*, Brett Neveu, Michaela Petro*, Christopher M. Walsh & Joseph Zettelmaier

Directed by Scott Cummins*

Conceived by Aly Renee Amidei* & Brian Amidei*

On the forgotten highways of the American Midwest, there is a vacancy waiting for you at Motel 666. Run by a clerk of questionable morals and kept clean-ish by a trickster maid, Motel 666 is the finest establishment on the road to nowhere. Be you lonely or loved, guilty or relatively innocent, charmed or just plain down on your luck, you can rest your weary soul at Motel 666. (Note: Management cannot be held responsible for souls lost or misplaced.)  The guests in these rooms risk more than lumpy pillows and bed bugs …

Previews: June 3-4, 2015
Opening: June 5, 2015
Closing: June 28, 2015

Performances will be held at the DCASE Storefront Theatre, 66 E. Randolph Street, with shows ThursdaySaturday at 7:30pm and Sundays at 2:00pm.

*denotes WildClaw Company Member or Artistic Associate

Deathscribe 2015 Submissions Open Now!

Submit 2015_05

Submissions are now open!

Deathscribe 2015 is now open for submissions! Get to writing your own horror radio play to submit to our international annual festival. All the information you need for rules, how to enter, radio play format samples, Mayan DeathLuck spells, and deadlines is on the Deathscribe page.

Dare to Share a Scare with Horror Trivia in WildClaw Theatre’s FINAL EXAM!!!

Couldn’t make it out to our Spring Metamorphosis Benefit at Four Moon Tavern? Feast your eyes on our horror trivia contest, WILDCLAW’S THEATRE’S FINAL EXAM!!! We’ll post the answers on Monday:

1) What was the nickname Spielberg gave the shark in JAWS?

A) Steve

B) Gary

C) Todd

D) Bruce

2) Which of the following actors played Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man AND the Mummy in Universal’s Black-&-White horror films?

A) Bela Lugosi

B) Boris Karloff

C) Lon Chaney, Jr.

D) Claude Rains

3) Who was the most portrayed character in horror film history?

A) The Mummy

B) Dracula

C) The Wolf Man

D) Frankenstein’s Monster

4) What is the real name of Elvira, Mistress of the Dark?

A) Cassandra Peterson

B) Maila Nurmi

C) Yvonne de Carlo

D) Madonna Ciccone

5) How many “Nightmare on Elm Street” films were made (not including Freddy vs Jason and whatever wretched mess that new Michael Bay one was trying to be?

A) 10

B) 5

C) 7

D) 9

6) What was WildClaw Theatre’s inaugural production?

A) The Great God Pan by Arthur Machen

B) Legion by William Peter Blatty

C) The Revenants by Scott T. Barsotti

D) Hell Comes to Frogtown, by Donald G Jackson & Randall Frakes

7) What was the first and only film to win the Oscar for Best Picture?

A) The Exorcist

B) The Silence of the Lambs

C) Rosemary’s Baby

D) The Shining

8) Complete this rhyme, “He thrusts his fists against the posts and still insists—“

A) We eat French toast

B) We thank our hosts

C) It hurts me most

D) He sees the ghosts

9) Which TWO actors have the honor of being the only two actors killed on screen by an Alien, a Predator and a Terminator?

A) Michael Bien

B) Lance Henriksen

C) Linda Hamilton

D) Bill Paxton

10) Match the giant creature to its movie:

A) Ants

1) Deep Blue Sea

B) Spiders

2) Mysterious Island

C) Bees

3) Eight Legged Freaks

D) Hyper-intelligent sharks

4) Lake Placid

E) Alligators

5) Them!

11) Which of the following films are NOT part of John Carpenter’s Apocalypse Trilogy?

A) In the Mouth of Madness

B) Big Trouble in Little China

C) The Thing

D) Prince of Darkness

12) When Edgar Allen Poe’s wife and cousin Virginia was suffering from tuberculosis, she started bleeding from the mouth during a vocal performance for the family, inspiring what classic Poe story?

A) Murders In Rue Morgue

B) Fall of the House of Usher

C) Mask of the Red Death

D) The Raven

13) Match the sailing vessel to its movie:

A) Nostromo

1) Jaws

B) Elysium

2) Event Horizon

C) Lewis and Clark

3) Alien

D) Orca

4) The Creature Wasn’t Nice

E) Vertigo

5) Pandorum

14) Though Clive Barker’s working title was Sadomasochists from Beyond the Grave and thankfully changed to Hellraiser, what was the name of the Clive Barker short story that it is based on?

A) The Book of Blood

B) The Hellbound Heart

C) Cabal

D) The Midnight Meat Train

15) Which of the following novels was NOT written by Richard Bachman?

A) Thinner

B) The Running Man

C) Maximum Overdrive

D) Blaze

16) Which of the following films does NOT feature the song Don’t Fear The Reaper?

A) Stephen King’s The Stand

B) Rob Zombie’s Halloween (2007)

C) Scream

D) The Funhouse

17) What 90’s band wrote and performed the theme song to the BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER television series?

A) Foo Fighter

B) Matchbox 20

C) Nerf Herder

D) The Proclaimers

18) Actress Ellen Burstyn has been nominated for five Academy  Awards, including Best Lead Actress in The Exorcist. Name the movie for which she won:_______________________

19) Stephen King suffers from triskaidekaphobia. What the hellfire is that?

A fear of : _______________________________________

Special thanks to everyone that came out to support WildClaw Theatre at Four Moon Tavern on Sunday, and to guest Quizmaster Joseph Zettelmaier!

^_ _^

.>T<

SPRING METAMORPHOSIS!

Thanks for joining us and helping support live theatre in Chicago!  Look for our next event coming up in late April! If you missed the event and still want to help out, please consider a donation via paypal or snail mail!  All contributions will be transformed times three by generous matching donors. Every $1 donated equals $3 (up to $10,000).  $10,000 in donations gets us $30,000!

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Playwright Scott T. Barsotti

Patient Zero

Patient Zero

So it has come to this: the man, the myth-maker, Scott T. Barsotti, playwright of The Revenants. We’ll be talking to him today about new challenges, zombies with purpose, and What Scares Him.

1) What was your introduction to horror?

The Schwartz/Gammell Scary Stories series got me hooked on the genre, as well as video games like Shadowgate and The Uninvited.

Oh, but it's a kid's book, how bad can it b--oh god.

Oh, but it’s a kid’s book, how bad can it b–oh god.

2) How would you define horror as a genre? What, to you, is the perfect horror story, & why?

Horror is any type of story or art that is primarily about fear. It is, inherently, a reactive genre; the most interesting horror stories are the ones that are not about a scary thing or event, but rather about how ordinary people react to and deal with that scary thing or event, how they process it, or fail to process it. I think The Exorcist might be the perfect horror story. There’s psychology, there’s faith, there’s love, there’s the unknown, there’s such a great deal of humanity in that book and film, and ultimately it’s not a story about a possessed little girl, it’s about the people around her: the very different impacts her possession has on her mother and the young priest who is himself grieving and having a crisis of faith. And it’s terrifying.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Slow. Fast zombies are effective in their own way but they kind of defeat the purpose. Fast zombies create more terror and slow zombies create more horror; and to me, horror is always more interesting than terror.

4) In re-visitng The Revenants, what challenge surprised you the most this time around? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

Mainly that Zagoren guy. SO DEMANDING. The thing that’s always challenging to me is how to deepen a play or tell a story better, even when it’s been done a bunch of times likeThe Revenants has. I tried to make re-writes and revisions based on the excellent work being done by Brad and the cast, and I added a brand new scene that I think may now be the best scene in the play.

5) What Scares You?

The human brain, in all its weird mystery. Who fuckin’ knows what that thing can do?

Rev Poster

The Revenants MUST CLOSE this weekend! Final performances Friday & Saturday at 7:30 pm, Sunday at 3 pm–don’t miss it!

^_ _^
.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Understudy Lloyd Vincent Anderson

The Rocking Dead

The Rocking Dead

WildClaw has been ridiculously lucky to have Understudy Lloyd Vincent Anderson support us throughout the run of Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants, including stepping (or staggering?) into the role of Joe several times. We’re talking today about excess, honesty, and What Scares Him.

1) Do you consider yourself a horror fan?

Oh, Yes.  I like how the horror genre has an endless amount of categories you can venture into to get your fix.  Right now I’m diving into some Weird fiction.

2) What was your introduction to horror?

I went to a Catholic grade school here in Chicago, and we had a haunted house in the basement of the church.  Haven’t been that scared for my life since.  It eventually closed due to complaints of it being too frightening. (Or funding, I can’t remember.)

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Slow. You can’t hear slow coming from a distance.

4) How is creating a character for horror different than for other genres of storytelling? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

I didn’t find it all that much different in my approach.  Because the circumstances are heightened in a Zombie Apocalypse setting, my main focus was to keep my work honest while honoring said circumstances.

5) What Scares You?

Failure.  Porcelain dolls of any size.  And long brown-haired women running down hallways toward me in a deranged manner.

Annabelle's a hair color away from a hat trick (burn).

Annabelle’s a hair color away from a hat trick (burn).

Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants MUST CLOSE this weekend! Don’t miss it!

^_ _^
.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Actor Krista D’Agostino

In other words...I have no words

In other words…I have no words

Krista D’Agostino’s haunting turn as Molly is sure to hit you right in the heart, not to mention the brain. She’s talking to us today about her comfort zone, slumber parties, and What Scares Her.

1) Do you consider yourself a horror fan?

Yes. I scare easy and love a good reason to sleep with the lights on. 

2) What was your introduction to horror?

Middle school slumber parties did a number on me. I’m pretty sure that I spent the better part of my first couple of years in double digits calling my parents to pick me up at 2 am at one friend’s house or another after watching any number of movies that completely freaked me out. The night that stands out the most in my mind was watching Candyman when I was in about 6th grade at a friend’s birthday party. It was my first experience with being really terrified. We all spent the rest of the night going to the bathroom in pairs because some jerk said “Candyman” five times in the mirror.

Krista's Valentine's Day was...beyond complicated.

Krista’s Valentine’s Day was…beyond complicated.

Shortly after that I became totally obsessed with the X-Files which I guess is more sci fi/horror, but just loved how nightmare-inducing that show could be and the monster of the week episodes especially were my favorites.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Gotta go with slow and shambly because I know when they come for me I’m barely going to be able to break out above a generous speed walk.

4) How is creating a character for horror different than for other genres of storytelling? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

There are a lot of reference points out there for horror, particularly very visual ones. And I would say with this play in particular (*spoiler?*) getting to play one of the undead there is a lot to point to out there for what that can/should be. Creating a creature and character that is recognizable to the genre, yet with its own unique take and surprises has been a huge exciting challenge. There definitely have been some expectations to meet and exceed in a way that I’ve never encountered before. This is also definitely the most physically and vocally demanding show I’ve ever worked on and it has pushed me completely outside of what I thought was already a pretty big comfort zone, which I’m really thankful for and can hopefully take with me to anything I work on in the future. And it’s just so much freaking fun. We talk about stakes a lot in theater and in horror the stakes are pretty regularly literally life or death. I don’t want to feel that way everyday, but for 90 minutes several times a week you really can’t beat that rush.

5) What Scares You?

Airplanes. Driving. Freak accidents. Chance. I should never ever have watched any of the Final Destination movies. Anything that is ultimately out of my control, but I can somehow imagine being in my control through the choices I make terrifies me.

Make the terrifying choice to see closing weekend of Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants NOW! Final performances February 19th-22nd!

^_ _^

.~T~

The Revenants & Carmilla Double-Header THIS WEEKEND! Plus A Special Treat…

This Valentine’s Day, WildClaw brings you its hit production of Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants, AND delves into the vault (or crypt?) for a staged reading of our much-beloved production of Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla.

Love means never having to say, "I'm bleeding."

Love means never having to say, “I’m bleeding.”

 

To whet your appetite, today we bring you a tale from the lighter side of resurrection, also by Carmilla adapter & WildClaw Artistic Director Aly Renee Amidei, and with a little help from Podcast King (and star of The Revenants) Josh Zagoren. Walkers v. Runners tells us the story of precocious little Andrea Tanucci, and a science fair project gone so wrong, you don’t want it to be right.

This is our penultimate weekend for The Revenants! Join us Saturday for our one-two-punch of Carmilla & The Revenants for JUST $40! OR this Sunday, you can use the code “poptarts” for $10 off your ticket to our matinee! All proceeds from our Valentine’s Day double-header benefit Teen Cancer America.

^_ _^

.~T~