When I was a kid, Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and numerous adaptations gave me nightmares. So I’m not surprised Wonderland and its inhabitants inspired many other artists towards darker interpretations. Even if an Alice story is targeted directly towards children, the creator’s intent doesn’t always come across and could end up creating something terrifying. However, if you are looking for a truly family friendly version of Alice in Wonderland, look no further than the Rose Center Theater.Continue Reading
Horror and Suspense are genres which require an extremely delicate touch. They’re just as frightening to produce as they are to write. When done well they can catapult a person into stardom—I like to call this the Shyamalan Effect (1. see below for definition). Both genres are effective because they feed on your expectations, and when successful, these stories connect with you on a cathartic level. Hitchcock bottled the suspense formula, while M. Night Shyamalan and countless other film directors having much more success in these genres than their theatrical counterparts. This seems preposterous to me. Theoretically when it’s done correctly theatre should be much scarier than film because of the psychological proximity to the action. A failure to not implement, or at least take into consideration, the impact of creating a sense of danger for the audience is shunning one of things that makes theatre unique and special above all other forms of art – THE FACT THAT IT’S ALIVE!
In my experience of Orange County theatre so far, the directors putting on horror and or/shows centering on suspense are not competent enough to really highlight the genres’ best qualities. However this is not an issue limited to Orange County. I do not think the theatre world has really explored the genre of horror much. There are a few examples of theatre doing horror well (look to the article below for examples). Unfortunately, Brandon Ferruccio’s production of The Univited cannot be added to that list. It supplies some drama, but the play’s ultimate resolution falls gravely (pun intended) short.
Photo credit Greg Z. Newcomb for Westminster Community Theatre
Written by Patrick Chavis
Murder mystery reviews are a trap. Good or bad the chances of dropping a spoiler are exponentially increased in these plays because they are all about the details (clues). Boasting an obviously talented cast with an almost non-existent set, WCT succeeds in pushing a rather “generic” murder mystery into something a little more thrilling and entertaining. If you’re old enough to be Matlock fans, this play is right in your wheelhouse.
The name in the title says Rehearsal for Murder, but that’s not exactly accurate, or is it? It’s really a play about Monica Wells and her death. Monica Welles, a theatre actress played exceptionally well by Lisa March, is found dead with a suicide note after receiving mixed reviews for her latest show. All signs point to suicide, but Alex Dennison, Monica’s lover and powerful theatre playwright, feels he knows better. Using his influence, Alex devises a play rehearsal to weed out the culprit, but like any murder mystery there’s more too it than meets the eye.
I can’t articulate enough about how solid the acting is throughout the entire production. The acting is so well done, especially by Stephen Alan Carver, you almost bypass the obvious and way too predictable resolution of the story. Flat out, besides the two main characters, the audience is given very little reason to care about any of the other characters in the script.
Overall, the lack of action in this script is remedied with a really likable cast making the scenes enjoyable and worth the price of admission. But for theatre goers looking for a suspenseful night of shock and awe, it might not be enough.