Sunday, October 2, 2011
We just opened Fairy Tales on Friday. We have had better than expected crowds, and the thing is happening. We usually use this first weekend to work out the kinks and figure out the ideal flow of the event, but because we have been unusually inundated with crowds this first weekend, we haven't really had that opportunity. The result has been some serious line flow problems that has caused delays with people getting in at the time they bought tickets for. Each day we have gotten a little better, and hope to have it working perfectly after tonight. But it will never be perfect. we do the best we can. I apologize to those who have had to wait.
On another note, i want to use this opportunity to be completely blunt about what Nightmare is, and what people want it to be. Last year with Superstitions we got the closest we ever have to making "both" of our audiences happy. What do i mean by this? well, Nightmare has a large theatergoing audience. Lots of artistic types who appreciate the artistry of what we do. The fact that we have stories, recurring characters, a consistent theme, and a ton of theatricality. They come because they appreciate that kind of thing AND because they want that kind of thing to be scary. Especially this time of year. The other audience are those that just want it to be as terrifying as possible, and if it is anything short of heart attack inducing than there is no middle ground. That is why they are there. And it's tough to completely placate those people without stepping over an ethical line. Especially not this year. I don't have tons of monsters jumping out at you. I am not even sequestering people and isolating them, then terrifying them. Not this year. This year is very theatrical. Is it scary? Yes, definitely, but you have to understand what you are getting into.
Nightmare Fairy Tales is moody, creepy, eerie and ambient. It certainly has its share of startle scares (you know when something unsuspecting jumps out at you and surprises you), but it is very theatrical and interactive. the sets by Paul Smithyman are beautiful. the art direction by Justin Haskell and David Hinkle is inventive and innovative, the costumes by Candice Thompson are the best we have ever done by a million miles, the lighting design by Garin Marshall and David Roy is creative, creepy, twisted and distorted. We invested a ton into production this year. I saw one on line review that said "the sets are cheap, made out of cardboard and they have cheap fake fire". idiot. They truly did not get what we were trying to do.
Firstly, nothing is made out of cardboard for the record, but even if it was it would have been thematically supported. I was trying to create a two-dimensional pop-up book look. please understand that real artist with real ideas conceptualize things here. We make things that have design purpose behind it, not just "let's make this butcher shop look like a butcher shop to the letter." not in the least. We are abstract artist who deconstruct and distort things, if i make a river, i am going to do it theatrically and abstractly because it fits in with what we are doing. It is not hard to build a literal basin with water flowing in it, recycling the water to keep it moving. It's not even that expensive to do that. And it certainly isn't creative, it's obvious. That is how this year's house is made. that is how someone can make a forest indoors.
Someone asked me yesterday if this other haunted house that physically assaults you is scary i answered "yes. in fact it is likely scarier than mine. But it is almost literally asking me if putting a gun in your face is scarier than putting a hand in your face. Of course putting a gun in someone's face is scary. so is beating someone up and gagging them and putting fluids on them." No real revelation there. doing something that is actually scary in the real world to someone is always going to be scarier than something simulated. It also doesn't even take a great deal of imagination. You just do the thing. Instead of making one feel as if they just got tortured (with creativity and innovative thinking) let's just literally torture them instead. And I am not trying to even be that critical. I have done this and i do find it adrenaline rushing and fun. So if you are looking for this kind of aggressive, intense very direct and literal experience, there is a haunted house for you. It is not Nightmare.
You like Freddy Krueger and Michael Myers chasing you? I know that is scary. especially if they pop out of the dark. I don't need to take a class on this. I know having a monster pop out of holes is scary. i could create a whole haunted house called "Nightmare: Pop Scare" and it would probably make a trillion dollars. I would just create a maze where every time you turned a corner a monster would lunge at you. I'm a genius. Nightmare is not this at all. I don't judge this, although it may seem like i am. I know people love to be startled and chased. and there is a house in this city that does this very, very well. One of the best actually and i go to it every year and enjoy it myself, but this isn't Nightmare, either. (well, it is actually Nightmare Z-Day in the Bronx. all zombies all the time chasing and lunging at you. scream fest)
Nightmare Fairy Tales is not going to startle the shit out of you. It is not going to make you feel violated or unsafe. It might not terrify you at all in fact, but what it will do is make you go "that was friggin' cool" and "that was one twisted, dark and unique performance i just took part in" and you should say (because i say it every time i walk through and look at the amazing art the people who worked on this created) "that was one amazing, beautiful and inventive house." Nightmare will creep you out, will unnerve you, and there are even a few very solid pop scares that have gotten every single person that has walked through so far. Three sure fire ones that have not NOT worked on a single group, but 3 more that have nailed it pretty much every time as well. As an artist i have created the house that i wanted to create. i am very proud of it. if you want to be a part of a spooky and super cool immersive theatrical experience that will get your heart racing, then you do want to go to Nightmare. If you are looking for something else, please go somewhere else.
But you will leave having done something perfect for the holiday season and disturbed at the same time. And buy our new t-shirt for this year, they are my favorite ever :-)