Sunday, October 4, 2009

29 days of nite - HAUNTED POE (Distefano, 2009)

OH MAN THIS WAS AWESOME. Unfortunately, you can't see it unless you're in the Philadelphia area, but if you are, you should stop by sometime in October. It's a haunted house thingy, but it's in this old warehouse in South Philly and it's billed as "interactive theater". A cast of preformers acts out several Poe works, incorporating elements of musical theater, puppetry, greek tragedy, film, dance, and magic/illusions, and the result is really cool. It's been produced by Brat, a Philly-based theater production company, and this base in actual art, rather than commerce, helps to set it apart from most other Haunted Attractions. HAUNTED POE is not traditionally scary, but it operates on a deeper level. It should be reviewed in the context of a haunted house, because that's really what it is, and when viewed in the context of a haunted house, it's the best I've been to, and I've been to a bunch. It draws together the various spaces and performers into a connecting story about the deterioriating mental state of the author of the works that you're seeing acted out. The performers never jump out and yell boo; they burst out of the ground and lay the violin and stare into your eyes while they're singing. The effect hits somewhere closer to the subliminal level of consciousness than the usual haunted house, which just throws random scary things at you and waits for you to jump. HAUNTED POE is, at times, strangely beautiful, and it touches upon emotions other than fear, and it's well-acted, and entertaining, and it's creepy. 38 Jackson St, Phila, PA. and it runs through Nov. 1.

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