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October/November 2015

Off The Wall Theatre proudly presented some really High Class Horror
for Halloween

Four plays taken from the legendary and influential French Theatre Grand Guignol  thrilled and terrify audiences at Off the Wall through the Halloween season

Grand Guignol was one of the most popular theaters in Paris from its inception in 1898 until its demise in 1962. An offspring played in London, featuring plays written by such luminaries as Noel Coward, and starring artists such as Sybil Thorndike and Nazimova! Grand Guignol usually presented four to eight short plays in one evening. The plays ranged from farces and comedies to horrific thrillers using graphic stage violence. The theater specialized in outstanding and very realistic special effects. The shows were also often quite erotic. Of course the puritanical English cleaned up their Grand Guignol and substituted suspense for torture and bloodshed. The Universal horror films were inspired by Grand Guignol, as were the films of Alfred Hitchcock.  Stories like Gaston Laroux's Phantom Of The Opera came out of the Grand Guignol milieu. 

Off The Wall Theatre’s Artistic Director Dale Gutzman fashioned an evening of four short plays of suspense and horror from the plays of this legendary theater. Each of the plays was helmed by a different Director.

1. Clowning Around...a short play set in a mental asylum, filled with diabolical twists and turns, Directed by Lawrence J. Lukasavage.

2. The Final Torture...A searing drama of the Boxer Rebellion in China, and the struggle of a French Brigade to hold out until help arrives, Directed by James Feeley

3.The Kiss…one of the most famous of all Grand Guignol plays involving a lovers' tryst and Sulphuric Acid! Directed by Jeremy C. Welter.

4. Pagliacci … a terrifying take on the story that inspired the famous opera. A full musical directed by Dale Gutzman with an original score by Joey Katsiroubas

The amazing cast for these four pieces included:  Randall Anderson, Jeremy C. Welter, Patrick McCann, Dale Gutzman, James Feeley, Lawrence J Lukasavage, Kirstin Roble, Jessica Trznadel, Jocelyn Ridgely Paul Pfannenstiel, Max Williamson, and Joey Katsiroubas. Together, they played a myriad of twisted, desperate characters. 

Technical wizard David Roper created a claustrophobic, deeply disturbing unit set for these four plays...the stage of an old Grand Guignol Theatre

This was probably be the only chance anyone had to experience a now dead form of theater, featuring gruesome effects, shocking plot twists, and hysterical performances featuring among other things, everybody's favorite...Killer Clowns