Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chills and Thrills and Terror

I have been a critic for nearly 13 years.  In that time I have seen my share of shows that I didn't like, and reviewed shows that I suspected I was not going to like, but I have never refused to review a show, unless I was not going to be in town and couldn't review a show.

However this week I received a notice about an upcoming performance that chilled the marrow in my bones.
Upon arrival at “The Haunt at xx,” visitors will be led in groups of 15 by a Guiding Spirit to the first of seven performance stages. Be prepared for terror of every dimension as the cast employs its considerable talents and special effects hosting guests through eerie scenes of mayhem: The Bargain without Knowing; The Dismemberment; The Wandering; Finding Love in the Underworld; The Harrowing of the Soul; The Realm of the Wild Men; and The Wild Bride and Bridegroom. Audience experiences are intimate and immersive and include two mazes where demons and goblins dwell in and around shattered mirrors and dense, foggy marshes.
Did ya get that bit about "audience experiences are intimate and immersive"? It is also suggested that people come dressed in costume.

I don't want to be an old poop, but I am an old poop.  I threw myself on the mercy of my (new) editor.  I told her this is a show that I want to see less than having root canal without anesthetic while all of my fingernails are being pulled out simultaneously.

She told me she would excuse me and I didn't have to review it.

But would that mean the show would go unreviewed?  I recently arranged for someone to review a show for me when I was going to be out of town and that person made the decision that he didn't want to see the show, so he just didn't go.  This meant that all the work of all the actors went unreviewed and the theater company lost the opportunity of people who might have bought tickets based on the review.

I was very upset by that and thought it unprofessional that this reviewer had not been honest with me up front and had lead me to believe that he would review the show.

But aren't I doing the same thing if I refuse to review this Halloween themed show?  I am a bit more professional than that, so I have let my editor know that if she absolutely cannot find anybody to review, I will do it.  It will probably be a great, fun show for those who like that kind of thing, but the whole "intimate and immersive" thing just throws me into a panic and I am hoping that someone who actually likes   this sort of thing will jump at the chance.

It has always amazed me that someone like myself, who is SO shy and SO afraid of being in the public eye (in person...obviously being in the public eye in print doesn't bother me at all), gave birth to a whole litter of people who love performing, who have always been comfortable on stage, and who would, given the opportunity, jump at the opportunity to review this show...and have a fabulous time.

The show should be reviewed by someone who is looking forward to attending, not someone for whom the very idea of entering the theater fills her with terror.

Cross your fingers and hope there is an alternate reviewer out there!

I've always had a problem with Halloween anyway.  It brought out my biggest insecurities.  I always tried to be supportive of the kids, but felt that as a "good mom" I should make their Halloween costumes, not buy something cheap at the store, but my talents don't lie in that direction, sadly. The most inventive I ever got was "diaper man" when the older boys were in superhero costumes and the baby wore pink leotards and a blue cape.

And then there was the problem with trick or treat candy.  In those days it as a lot more popular than it is now and the kids would come home with big sacks full of candy.  That's five big sacks of candy and Mom having to decide how much they could have and when they could have it.  It was great when they were little and hadn't learned to count their candy and didn't notice when the Snicker bars (my favorite) disappeared.  Eventually they paid much closer attention.

And then when the kids moved out, there were the neighborhood kids coming for trick or treat which is a huge pain in the butt with three dogs there to either lunge at them or try to get out of the house.  I always wanted to put in a gate that would keep them in the house (thus not barking outside), but away from the door.  Ultimately it was easier to turn off the lights in the carport and not answer the door.

As Halloween approaches each year, I dread it because I know that no matter what part of it I look at, I'm going to feel guilty.

But then I see something like this...

But, oh dear God let there be another reviewer who wants to do this show...!


Harriet said...

There is no way in hell I would attend that show, even if I were paid! Sure, I sympathize with people who have gone to a lot of trouble, but not to the extent of being scared out of what wits I have left.

Halloween is more scary now than it was, because there are nasties waiting to attack the kids and steal their candy, not to mention the nasties that "doctor" the treats. A local dentist has offered to x-ray anyone's treats to make sure they haven't been tampered with.

Kwizgiver said...

I'm with you! No intimate thrills and chills and anything else in my theater.

jenmoon said...

Well, I was pondering going to that show until I read your description of it (it's more elaborate than the ones I've seen in the wild). Now I kinda don't want to go either. I liked the idea of going to a show, especially since there is nothing the hell else to do for the holiday here once you're over the age of 6 (or over going to frat parties), but if it's Freaky Haunted House Grabbing Hour, maybe not so much.