FEAR: Improvised Thriller for Halloween
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The last date listed for FEAR was Saturday October 30, 2004 / 8:00pm.
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A window built into the floor. Staircases leading to nowhere. Doors that open into blank walls. San… More
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“Some of the most experienced improvisers in the Bay Area. " East Bay Express
“Scary things are happening to real people, right in front of you—and with improv, those people are experiencing everything for the very first time, as you watch. Talk about scary.” Alan Goy, Director
The Un-Scripted Theater Company presents FEAR, a full-length, improvised horror story.
“You hardly ever see thrillers or horror on stage,” says Alan Goy, a scary movie fan and the run’s director. “For some reason, the theater abandoned that genre and left it to Hollywood. Really, though, the immediacy and intimacy of a live performance, especially an improvised one, make the stage an ideal place for this genre.”
One play in the horror/thriller genre that has been hugely successful is The Woman in Black, a horror play without fancy Hollywood effects that has been running in London’s West End for 15 years. A ghost story with no blood or guts-but plenty of chills—this play serves as a sort of touchstone for the improvisers as they study the horror/thriller genre.
“When you’re watching a scary movie, you can always remind yourself that it’s not real-it’s up there on the screen, not in your reality,” Goy continues. “A novel or short story is more immediate and more real because it engages your imagination; you’re putting the faces on the characters, and you’re much more involved in their stories. Horror onstage is just one step more immediate. Scary things are happening to real people, right in front of you—and with improv, those people are experiencing everything for the very first time, as you watch. Talk about scary.”
The cast of ten, only six of whom will be in any one show, has plenty of experience with improv, but has been studying the genre. “In order to improvise horror,” says cast member Christian Utzman, “we’ve all got to become masters at telling scary stories. We’re immersing ourselves in the genre-watching movies, reading horror fiction-trying to really understand what makes something scary. Later, when we’re onstage, we’ll know instinctually where the story should go, and how to go about getting there.”
“Once you get into the horror frame of mind, it’s hard to shake,” adds cast member Susan Snyder. “There have been some creepy rehearsal moments already, and we’ve just started working.”
As Teresa Hopper, who writes about horror for the Web site Forward Motion, says, “Horror is about fear. It’s about abnormal occurrences happening to normal people, which they are often powerless to prevent.” That’s just the sort of feeling these improvisers are planning to bring to the stage.