Whenever December rolls around I get excited for the annual Deathscribe radio play extravaganza from Wildclaw Theatre. This is the eighth year they’ve been hosting this party and TerrorDave Fuentesand I trekked up to the wilds of the northside of Chicago to enjoy an evening of laughs and gasps at the Mayne Stage.
After watching Wildclaw Theatre’s latest work Motel 666, a 7-play anthology based around a creepy hotel room, Terror Dave Fuentes said serveral times that he was reminded of old EC Comics series like Tales from the Crypt. Horror stories are particularly well adapted for short form stories since many revolve around archetypal characters and themes. The murderer facing karmic justice; the innocent person getting into serious trouble after touching an evil object; the monster in the basement taking an unsuspecting home owner by surprise.
The anthology format has worked very well for Wildclaw in their annual radio play competition Deathscribe, so it seems a logical progression to apply the same format to fully staged plays.
It’s a cliche nowadays to say that horror stories that become popular reflect the “zeitgeist of the times”. Giant monsters roam around due to radiation? We’re afraid of nuclear bombs. Space aliens secretly infiltrate a town? Communists are endangering our children! The current rage is zombies – faceless hordes wanting nothing more than to eat our flesh and turn us into one of them. Movies and TV shows starring either slow or fast hordes of zombies running amok in the world are everywhere.
Nothing says Happy Holidays like a little bit of horror!
For seven years Chicago’s Wildclaw Theatre has opened the holiday season with a fun performance of 5 radio horror plays. They invite a panel of judges to choose a winner of the coveted Bloody Axe award. The show takes place at the Mayne Stage (http://www.maynestage.com/) which adds to the fun – food and drinks flow freely to the enjoyment of all.
It was Wednesday April 9th, the final day of our momentous two week vacation/road trip with my plane slated to leave for Chicago that evening. Originally we were planning on getting a tour of The Stone Zoo in Massachusetts (courtesy of a zookeeper friend of mine) but after hearing that it would involve dealing with some rough Boston traffic, decided it was best to play it safe and stay close to Providence. We watched “Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D” (which tied into the Captain America: Winter Soldier film we’d just seen the Friday before) before heading out to Rhode Island’s capital city. We only had one thing on the agenda before whiling away our final hours…visiting the grave of the legendary horror and science fiction writer, H.P. Lovecraft.
Every year since 2008 Wildclaw Theatre has celebrated the holiday season with a Festival of short horror radio plays. Running only 10 minutes in length, these plays have to depend strictly on story and sound to get their ideas across.
I attended my first Deathscribe festival last year with Terror Dave Fuentes (read Dave’s review of it here). Last year I did not know what to expect at all. I’ve been to many theater productions around Chicago, but never to radio plays. It was a lot of fun, so I was really looking forward to this year now that I knew how it worked. Continue reading →
Earlier this past week I highlighted my amazing experience seeing the play KILL ME (see story HERE) courtesy of Wildclaw Theatre! Afterwards I had an opportunity to chat with the young and talented playwright, Scott Barsotti, and I have no doubt you will find his as endearing to your horror hearts as I did…