Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Announcing the 13 Fairy Tales! But Not Really!

I will eventually announce all 13 fairy tales in Nightmare Fairy Tales, but i will do that closer to the date we open. I will say this. I have chosen 8 out of the dozens suggested to me from the blog post i posted last year looking for suggestions. Only 8. But i picked the most popular ones for sure. And i picked 5 others that i thought should have been suggested. I wanted to span the gamut a little more and not just do all Grimm's tales or obscure German ones that no one would understand or get. I'll tell you 3 of the 5 others here. In a moment. But first i would like to tell you the ones that were in my original 20 that i was going to do, but they got cut because it was making the house too convoluted and not allowing me to really blow out any one of them in a big way. And i want to really explore the ones i am doing more than usual this year.

So, in my original storyline that i wrote i was going to do The Golem, Cinderella, The Snow Queen, Three Blind Mice, Humpty Dumpty, Sleeping Beauty and Alice in Wonderland. I think the last two were suggested more than anything else, so it is probably surprising I am not doing them. But there are reasons. Sleeping Beauty might be the most brutal fairy tale of all. It is about a young lady (very young) who falls under a spell and then is repeatedly raped by a prince and actually has twins with him all the while being asleep. when she awakens, in the original story, it is while she is breast feeding. Gruesome, awful story but i thought didn't have the moral platitude that the others did, and there weren't any moments that would make sense to stage in a haunted house (i mean, there are certainly images that are awful, but i am trying to create an event where you truly experience each fairy tale). And the other, Alice in Wonderland, certainly lends itself to all kinds of wonderful imagery and storytelling, but has been so overdone that i didn't think i could possibly bring anything new to the table and would thus make it anti-climactic. so i jettisoned them all.

Now for three of the 13 in the house. And i must admit, two of these three play the most minor role in the house (which is probably why they are two of the three I am revealing): Little Match Girl, The Boy Who Cried Wolf, and Billy Goats Gruff. They are minor characters in this house, but you will understand why they are in there.

I look forward to you all experiencing Nightmare this year. It is by far and away unlike anything we have ever done. I am giddy with excitement!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Illustrations - courtesy of Juliet Fitzgerald

One of our brilliant actresses and long-time Nightmare employee as well as leader, Juliet Fitzgerald, is also a fantastic visual artist. I asked her to paint the haunting illustrated backdrop where our intrepid children find themselves in our logo artwork this year. She went above and beyond and made the choice as to which artwork to pick extremely difficult. I think the one we decided on was ultimately the right one, but as you can see she delivered the goods. Here were my other options. did we make the right decision?

Explaining the Artwork

So i love our key art this year, but it is a departure from our normal art. Mostly in the sense that it is not so pointedly "terrifying". Some wonder since we are doing a potentially ambiguous theme this year - Fairy Tales (read: is this a children's event?) that i should really hammer home the point that this is very much an adult event by making the artwork more graphic, gruesome and creepier than ever. I hear that, but i approach the key art like I approach all aspects of the house - as an artist who tries to make all aspects of the experience have meaning. Which is difficult sometimes with an event that is, well, a mass culture haunted house. But i always try. Last year i got some criticism that there were too many monologues in the house and that over the very loud noise it was hard to hear. I learned from that. Constantly trying to find the perfect blend between theatre, horror, experiential vs. empathetic, shock, interactivity and story. I don't know if I will ever feel I have nothing more to learn and that what I have created is the final word on this art form. But i was pretty pleased with Superstitions and know how I can improve upon that.

So what does that have to do with the art? Well, I believe the experience starts with people's perception of the event. When they first see our art work or go to our website; the experience has begun. And although good art needs no explanation (and I would like to consider this good artwork)... wait a minute, good art work needs no explanation. I should leave it at that. Nevermind. thoughts? It's more than JUST Hansel and Gretel in the woods. Go!

Saturday, August 20, 2011

End of Bronx construction week one

Just downloaded a blog app on my iPhone so I can blog more often. This blog is testing it. We are done with our first week of construction in the Bronx. We are pretty behind, but luckily we have until October 7th. It's gonna be hot by then. For those of you who went to nightmare ghost stories you might remember the scariest thing about it. We call it stretchy girl. Basically a girl stretched towards you from the other side of the room. Super effective and she will return in the Bronx.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Introducing the Fairy Tales Art

I love it. Great work by our graphic designer Nick Stone. Can you tell what characters the two kids are...? They are obviously a modern update. what do you think?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

And We're Back

It's that time of year again where i will start to blog in a more serious way. Loads going on with my life with both my theatre projects and haunted houses. that's right, haunted houseS! i have two this year.

Firstly, my show Sex You (I'm Gonna) is killing it in Edinburgh. Nathan Phillips is seducing all kinds of Scottish lasses and they are loving it. It was slow going at first, but it has picked up in a big way of late. I have returned from the beautiful city of Edinburgh (and it is beautiful. One of the most miraculous cities I have ever visited), but Nathan is still toiling away. But now that i am back i am in full haunted house mode.

we have actually started loading in my Bronx house. construction begins on Monday. We are starting so early because i want it built before we start Fairy Tales in Manhattan. the Bronx one is located at 1157 Commerce Avenue, just off Zerega Avenue. This is in Pelham Bay and a good neighborhood in Da Bronx. And even more exciting is that this is a permanent home. We have this space 365 days a year! So we actually don't have to tear down all of our hard work at the end of the season like we do every year in Manhattan. And what's more, because this is the Bronx, i have decided to do something very un-Nightmare like - MONSTERS! More specifically, ZOMBIES!!! Why do i say because it's in Da Bronx? because something tell's me that audience wants to see a bunch of monsters jumping out at them from all kinds of corners. That's what they'll get. the actual title is Nightmare: Z-Day - the Day the Zombie Apocalypse Begins.. I am doing this in partnership with this brilliant haunter and all around great guy, Bobby Ferrara. He is from the Bronx and found this awesome warehouse for us to do it in. We are a great team and I think you'll love it if you're in the area, or are in to trekking all the way up to the top of the boroughs. I, of course, hope you are.

Finally, Nightmare Fairy Tales is gonna be sick. One might think that being Fairy Tales it won't be as intense as some other haunted houses. You would be wrong. quite the opposite actually. Do you know how friggin' graphic some of these fairy tales are? graphic and vulgur and as violent as anything you have ever read. Some of the thing that are in this house make me blush. But i am telling these stories and they will shock it to you for sure. Our art direction is out of this world. We are basically creating an enormous pop-up book. and it isn't set in a house, but rather the woods. You will walk from one cottage to another. You're gonna be given a map and everything. Tons of fun and interactivity and plenty of scares to go around. I am beside myself with excitement for this house tbh. In future blogs i will announce the fairy tales that i will be staging in the house. But many of the ones people suggested will be represented.

images for both Z-Day and Fairy Tales coming soon. And i will keep you updated on all the super cool developments and fun stuff you will enjoy reading about. I am back in the swing of things and will probably start blogging two or three times a week if not more. look forward to your comments!