Sunday, November 1, 2009

2009 Lovecraft Play

So, Thursday Janice reminded we that we hadn't gotten any Halloween candy for trick-or-treaters yet -- an oversight I remedied on Friday. Come Saturday, we were ready.

Total number of trick-or-treaters who came by?


Boy, do we have a lot of candy for gamers come next Cthulhu night, to get them all good and sugared up before the sanity loss begins.

And, speaking of Cthulhu, this afternoon we went and saw this year's Lovecraft play down at Open Circle Theatre, just north of Pike Place Market in 'Belltown'. Unlike last year's play, which was a Cthulhuesque new story they'd come up with on their own, this year they reverted to tradition and adapted one of Lovecraft's stories -- specifically THE CASE OF CHARLES DEXTER WARD, one of his better tales. There was a small turnout -- I counted seventeen people, including ourselves -- and we enjoyed watching it with Anne & Sigfried, who met us there (a few other friends who'd also thought of joining us not having been able to make it for one reason or another).

How did they do? Well, certainly better than Vincent Price in the 1963 movie (not that that's hard). As befits a little theatre, they've pared the cast to the bone, with only three characters: the doomed young man himself, his cousin Jen (who takes over the roles given Charles' father and mother in the original story), and Dr. Willet the narrator; in addition, two voice-actors (played by the two scriptwriters) represent the off-stage psychiatrists evaluating Willet's story and Ward's case. Jen is mainly there so Charles and, later, Willet have someone to talk to, enabling a lot of narration to be turned into dialogue (rather like a Dr. Who companion). All three actors did a good job; young Charles in his looks and mannerisms reminded me a good deal of Peter Davidson's Doctor, which made his later decline into madness all the more effective. The OCT folks have also done everything they could, in their tiny available space, to reduce the number of locations -- v. successfully, I thought. I was particularly curious to see how they wd handle the discovery of the vast caverns, with their multiple chambers and sinister pits (so essential to the plot): a challenge wh. I'm happy to say they pulled off v. well.

If I had a complaint, it'd be that the play's structure v. closely resembled the adaptation of THE COLOUR OUT OF SPACE they did a few years ago, probably the highlight of all their Lovecraft plays that I've seen. It worked better then, particularly because of how well their main character/narrator made the switch back and forth between interacting with the doomed farmer and expressing his apprehensions to the audience. Still, if you hadn't seen the earlier play three years ago that wdn't be a problem.

On the whole: good, if you like this sort of thing. And, fortunately, I do.

--John R.

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