Thursday, July 19, 2012

Fresh Blood Post-Mortem

I want to start out by congratulating and thanking everyone who helped to make FRESH BLOOD such a success! Every seat in the house was taken - and we crammed people into the aisles and entryways. And I think everyone who came enjoyed some scary fun!

We started out the evening with Circles by Steven Korbar. This short play, directed by Andreas Hager, starts out with Cindy Ann (played by Amanda White) and Randel (played by Stephan Goldbach) sitting in a car together on a long drive through the countryside and woods. The audience is nervous for poor Cindy Ann, who is probably about to be the victim of a gruesome fate at the hands of creepy loner Randel - but they were in for a surprise. My favorite part of this play is its sudden reversal, and the tension was broken only by the audience's nervous laughter.

Next up was the scary - and snarky - vampire play Heart/Succor written by Lisa Huberman and directed by Joe Brofcak. Amanda Berry plays Mina, a sweet young woman on the L train after midnight, minding her own business and reading Stardust - who is approached by a drunken, lecherous hipster, Roger, played by Yuriy Pavlish. Once again, we are concerned for the apparently helpless young woman, only to be shocked. Mina gives into Roger's advances - and then starts drinking his blood. Meghan-Sara Karre was kind enough to cameo in this piece, coming on at the end to deliver the play's final line, "There will be other hipsters."

This bloody terror was followed by My Sexy Doll by Stanley Toledo. Directed by Andreas Hager, this play is a horror story about a married salesman (played by Aaron Kapner) who is having an affair with a small-town restaurant hostess (played by Coco Conroy). The hostess, known only as "Doll" reveals to her married lover ("Darling") that she has solved all their problems so that they can be together all the time - she has "taken care of" Darling's wife, and even arranged for him to start a new job working for her father, Chef (played by Ron Kuriloff) so that he never has to leave for business again! Darling has a hard time adjusting to his new lifestyle, but Doll assures him that their lives together will be "delicious".

Next up was a play inspired by an urban legend everyone is familiar with - Bloody Mary. The script, written by Aleks Merilo and directed by Shannon Lippert, tells the story of three girls (Robin, played by Sarah Livant, Sam, played by Janice Gerlach, and Leah, played by Anne Hu) who attempt to summon Bloody Mary in a mirror. They are disappointed when their attempts to contact hell are unsuccessful. We discover that the reason Robin is so desperate to glimpse hell is to see her sister, who recently committed suicide to escape their abusive foster father. The play ends with the terrifying voice of the father, coming from upstairs, and Robin whispering, terrified, "God protects good girls."

The first act came to a close with Chris Van Strander's tale of a restless and angry spirit, With You. Directed by Shannon Lippert, this play featured Trystin Bailey as a man contacting the ghost of his deceased mother with the help of recording equipment. This play manages to be terrifying - and is only three pages long! Amanda Berry voiced the mother, who was recorded and distorted by sound designer Tristan McKay.

The second act began with You Lost a Lot of Blood, a terrifying play by Mike Mariano that begins very much in media res. Despite a last-minute change of director and cast, this play was one of the most disturbing. It begins with Diane, played by Ashley Biel, lying unconscious on a tarp, bleeding from a  head wound, with her husband, Adam, played by Joe Caintic, standing over her and cleaning the blood from a hammer. Diane stirs and asks Adam to help her call an ambulance, but he assures her that she will be "taken care of".

Next came Le Wilhelm's short play All the Way to Crawfordville, in which Flora, played by Meghan-Sara Karre, asks her friend Leslie, played by Amanda White, how her date with all-star athlete Tommy went last night. Leslie reveals that Tommy wasn't everything she dreamed, and in fact, he humiliated and laughed at her. Flora is outraged, and beyond surprised that Leslie's reaction was to bake Tommy a cake. The sound of a siren interrupts their conversation (or anyway one is supposed to, if the sound system is working), and Flora realizes with horror what was really in that cake. Leslie takes on a quality reminiscent of the classic film Carrie when she says, "He shouldn't have laughed."

Afterwards we were treated to Posters by Laura Pfizenmayer. Yuriy Pavlish directed Amanda Berry and Mike Aguirre in this Southern, gothic tale of a lawyer, Whitfield, defending a charming young murderer, Loren. Berry also plays Loren's deceased girlfriend, Tiffany. The story of Loren's crimes runs parallel to the power struggle between Loren and Whitfield, and the final moments, when Whitfield reveals why she chooses to defend Loren, are truly unsettling.

Next came What Would You, How Would You, Who Would You? - a short play by Kymm Zuckert that asks, "If you could kill someone, and get away with it, who would you kill, and why?" Three young women (Rachel Arac, Jeanne Lau, and Janice Gerlach) are eating lunch and having a rather morbid discussion that spirals out of control.

The evening ended with zombocalypse thriller In Sickness - a play by Joe Brofcak. Kevin (played by Trystin Bailey) and Chuck (played by Serge Thony) are passed out in pre-dawn hours of the morning after Kevin's brother's bachelor party. It seems that in the middle of the night, a rabies-like virus has broken out and began reanimating violent, cannibalistic corpses! Kevin and Chuck are already in a state of shock when Kevin's brother Justin (played by Joe Caintic) bursts in. He's been bitten, and he passes out from blood loss. Kevin insists they have to take him to the hospital, but Chuck knows that the only thing to do is to coup de grace Justin before he attacks and infects them. Chuck finds his gun, but Kevin isn't ready to give up on his brother, and points his gun at Chuck, instead. Their face-off is interrupted by undead busting in through the walls and doors. This play caused some strong reactions from the audience, and was the perfect way to end the evening!

I would like to thank everyone who participated, and lent their talents as a director, playwright, actor, designer, technician, volunteer, usher, or zombie, and everyone who bought a ticket to the show. It's so encouraging to sell out a venue in NYC - especially on a Tuesday night! We can't wait to decide what's next for La Petite Morgue, so please - feel free to tell us what you'd like to see, or participate in. A haunted writer's workshop/ lock-in? An immersive supernatural murder mystery? A musical cabaret? An exorcism? Some combination of these? We're open to collaborations and suggestions!

We hope to see you at our next event! In the meantime... pleasant nightmares. <3

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