TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE FOR DEATHSCRIBE 2014

You poor dear. Did you positively gnaw your fingers past the nail, through the cuticle and down to the bone wondering WHEN and WHERE you could purchase tickets for DEATHSCRIBE 2014, December 1st at the Mayne Stage?

The answer is NOW and HERE: Buy tickets to Deathscribe.  See you soon…

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Meet Our 2014 Deathscribes (Part 5 of 5): Steve Baldwin

We love a writer that's not afraid to get his hands dirty.

We love a writer that’s not afraid to get his hands dirty.

Today we’re crossing signals with Steve Baldwin, author of “Please Stand By” for Deathscribe 2014. Earlier this year, Steve finished his first book: “Battles of the Zombie Apocalypse: Volume One: Operation Skullcrusher.” He’s also working on a new audio product called “Transmissions from the Zombie Apocalypse Volume Two,” his second collection of audio scenes from the zombie holocaust. Steve is also the lead designer for ‘Specimen,’ a sci-fi horror board game that was released at the end of last year. It pits a group of astronauts against a monstrous creature and is a lot of scary fun! We’ll be talking about the perils of exposition, the power of imagination, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

When I was 11 or 12, I saw “Night of the Living Dead” on TV and I’ve never been the same since. It scared the hell out of me! That’s when I learned that I’m one of those folks that just loves being scared.

What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?

Without giving too much away, the hook for me was the changing of the channel. The ‘click’ of the remote button was the first thing I came up with.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

The concept that you have no visual component so your dialog has to tell a more complete story without becoming too info dumpy.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

That’s a tuff one. The sound of someone rising from a grave would be pretty cool.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?

Keep writing and don’t be afraid to submit your stories! Don’t limit your imagination.

Little Anthony Fremont writes us the bestest Deathscribe pieces every year. We swear! Please don't kill me...

Little Anthony Fremont writes us the bestest Deathscribe pieces every year. We swear! Please don’t kill me…

What scares you?

Clowns. Finding a door open that you know you closed or turning a light off and then finding it back on when you come back to the room. Dolls scare me too.

We can’t wait until Steve toys with us in “Please Stand By,” directed by Kevin Theis for Deathscribe 2014 on December 1st at 8 pm at the beautiful Mayne Stage Theatre!

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.>T<

Meet Our Deathscribe Directors (Part 4 of 5): Anderson Lawfer

WHAT DOES THE WOLF SAY?

WHAT DOES THE WOLF SAY?

Today we’re huffing and puffing with Anderson Lawfer, director of “The Wolf at the Door” by Jessica Wright Buha for Deathscribe 2014. Anderson is the Artistic Director of Strawdog’s Hugen Hall, where he recently adapted and directed Fail-Safe and Pontypool. He has also directed a radio play based on the stories of Ben Hecht called “1,001 Afternoons In Chicago,” and hosts radio show “The Game Show Show and Stuff” on Tuesday nights on 88.7 WLUW! We’ll be talking about hindsight, instant gratification, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

My mom would never let me watch it. When I was a young kid I stole a vhs tape from my neighbor’s house that had Candyman, Shocker, and The Serpent and the Rainbow on it and I watched it over and over and over again until I knew every line in those movies. It felt dangerous and sort of gross and I loved it.

What excites you most about directing horror, compared to other genres?

There are very clear motivations in horror. Horror is usually more about excitement and instant gratification, and instant gratification is my jam.

What in this script resonated most with you?

It sort of feels like a blank canvas. Jessica didn’t bleed her blood all over it. There was lots of space for interpretation.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in directing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

You basically remove an entire sense for the audience. Everything else needs to feel more rich and textured and sexy and crisp.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

I love the sound of shoes on the street. Is anyone using the sound of shoes on the street in this? I hope they do.

And they're as excited as you are!

And they’re as excited as you are!

What scares you?

Intruders, viruses and being held captive.

We’re sure to find Anderson’s work captivating when we see “The Wolf at the Door” at Deathscribe 2014, December 1st at the Mayne Stage Theatre!

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribes (Part 4 of 5): Ignacio Zulueta

Dressed so sharp, I could cut myself

Dressed so sharp, I could cut myself

Today we’re going to dive on in with Deathscribe 2014’s Ignacio Zulueta, author of “Down by the Lake,” directed by Mary Rose O’Connor. Ignacio’s work has been featured recently in Amios Theater‘s SF branch of the national Shotz ‘brand’ of fun, fast, cheap theater: Beer included with ticket. He has his own live Foley performance this November for Book of Typhon, a supernatural apocalyptic audio play from 2011 Deathscribe alum Colin Johnson. He is aiming for a 2015 writing residency at the Eugene O’Neill Foundation, which provides a month to write plays in O’Neill’s historically preserved country home in Danville, CA. We’ll be talking about a lovely day at the beach, the unforgiving nature of sound, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

I was eight years old and visiting the beach with my family. We came there every summer we could, and I loved the ocean and my independence equally. There was no helicopter parenting, as much time away from siblings as one wanted. One bright and bustling afternoon I swam out further from shore than I ever had before. The tide was going out, and the white sand floor fell away from beneath my feet til I was left suspended and bobbing over a great green gulf of salt water. A sense of vertigo welled up as I looked down seeing my pale feet kicking so far above a distant sandy bottom below. I turned around to head back to shore.

But the tide was still going out.

I wasn’t a strong swimmer, but I had sudden panic and adrenaline on my side. I kicked and flopped for shore, crawling up the back of one wave and spilling down the other side like a ant traversing sand dunes. I couldn’t feel the sweat wicking off my body into the ocean, but I could feel the exhaustion slowing down my limbs. I could see the crowded shore clearly. I could other people playing in the surf just yards away from me. The shore wasn’t getting any closer, so I waved my hands and yelled, even though the movement pushed me further down into the brine. And when yelling didn’t work, I screamed.

No one noticed. Perhaps all they saw was an excited child, if they saw anything at all bobbing between the ranks of rising and falling waves. Perhaps all they heard was one more high, piping, easily overlooked voice in the confused murmur of music and laughter and children screaming with excitement and delight.

I do not actually recall the moment my feet touched sand again. Any headway I made swimming against the tide might not have been perceptible at the time, especially given how easy it had been to swim the other direction. But, like a snail’s steady progress, I suppose my efforts must have added up, and I dragged myself out of the surf.

But it’s funny, looking back. I don’t recall the moment I knew I was safe, or of the relief I felt, or the precautions I took in the future when returning to that beach.

What I remember most keenly is the fear.

I remember the animal panic. I remember the ebbing of strength and the shudder of involuntary weakness. I remember the shock of going unheard and unseen. I remember the dislocation of hearing the idle chatter of strangers as I dragged myself shivering from exhaustion up onto the sand. They were all having a simply, splendidly, wonderful day at the beach, free from all cares, with no obvious sight or sound to give cause for alarm. Why should they have suspected that anything at all were amiss?

And that’s how I got into horror.

That's just the beginning, folks.

That’s just the beginning, folks.

What excites you most about writing horror, compared to other genres?

Horror wastes no time, takes no prisoners, and doesn’t even pretend to have answers for all the questions. The stakes are existential, the themes are subversive, and the contract between performers and audience is clear. The demands on the writer to innovate and surprise are mandatory in the best possible way.  Horror has all the pleasure of the ‘Who-dun-it‘ with the added intellectual thrill of the ‘What-is-it?” and the lingering, delectable doubt of the, “Could-It-Happen-Again?”

What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?

The sound of water. It’s evocative, versatile, and absolutely challenging and cost-prohibitive to execute in any other medium than radio. I’d been dreaming for two years about how to write a play that dealt with the seductive danger of water.  After I knew the ambient environment, and began to think of all terrible things that might happen in it, all I needed from that point out were characters who had something to hide.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Minimalism in craft coupled with extravagance in concept. I’ve found audio is a genre that is less forgiving to muddle while being more forgiving to the suspension of disbelief. Keeping my scripts short allows the listener to stay sharp and focused. Foreshadowing physical action and sound effects requires a deft turn of phrase to prevent the listener feeling spoon-fed. Holding down cast sizes mitigates confusion, as does  distinguishing each characters from one another through diction, dialect, and gender.

What discoveries have you made about storytelling during this process that you are excited to use in future projects?

The character of Deputy Beth Shiner. I get the feeling there’s more tales to tell about her and her peculiar little town.I’m also interested to see how director Mary Rose O’Conner tackles the Foley for the show. With my own Foley project coming up next month, I’m keen to know how she and the Deathscribe techs manage to render not only my soundscape, but the soundscape of the other imaginative plays in the mix. Building an effect can be as pleasurable as building the story it belongs to.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

The sound of an entire auditorium shrieking in ecstatic, contagious hysteria… and other forms of live music. This is radio, right? Let’s have some music to augment the harrowing mood, or to allow the audience to catch their breath before the next bout of madness takes them.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?

Do whatever it takes to send out your play three days before the deadline. You’ll save yourself the cold sweats of a midnight submission. Those of you who enjoy cold sweats can rewrite the play in the three days before the deadline and try to wring out a new draft with the added failsafe of being able to send in the draft you finished earlier.

What scares you?

Half-open doors in a darkened room. The glassy eyes of dolls. Unmet deadlines. Human apathy.

Fortunately, scaring means caring when you see “Down by the Lake” at Deathscribe 2014 on December 1st at the Mayne Stage Theatre!

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.>T<

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribe Directors (Part 3 of 5): Sara Sevigny

Those eyes...know something's coming...

Those eyes…know something’s coming…

Today we’re making waves with Sara Sevigny, director Christopher M. Walsh’s “Fracture Zone” for Deathscribe 2014. Sara and her writing partner, Corrbette Pasko, just debuted their short play “30 Days Down the Rabbit Hole” at Abbie, and followed that up with “Autumn Leaves” as Red Theater‘s entry in Fight Night at The Den. Their full-length play,  Zombie Broads, goes up at Factory in fall 2015. Sara’s favorite drink is unsweetened green tea lemonade because it tastes like sunshine. We’ll be talking about sound as a character, hiding places, and What Scares Her.

How did you get into horror?

By force. I hate horror. I love paranormal, but true horror scares the shit outta me. I got nightmares for weeks just seeing Blair Witch Project. Holy hell, that brought me back to childhood. As a camper, who knows there are those crazy abandoned houses in the middle of the woods for no reason, and had counselors who would put rock piles in front of your tent telling you it was the ghosts of a cursed burial ground? That shit is real. No lie.

What excites you most about directing horror, compared to other genres?

I’m just as scared as the audience about what is happening. If I’m freaking out, then everything is working. My heart is racing just answering this question.

What in this script resonated most with you?

Meeting the characters at the end of their story. You’re thrown right into the center of shit hitting the fan and you just have to hold on tight and ride it til the end.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in directing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Remembering that the audience should be able to close their eyes and have a similar if not more heightened experience than if they were watching a play/movie. I know when I watch something scary, the first thing I do is close my eyes to ‘hide’ from whatever it is that is scaring me, right? We all do. In doing radio, there should be nowhere that the audience can hide. Closing their eyes should actually make things scarier. That’s the goal!

What discoveries have you made about storytelling during this process that you are excited to use in future projects?

I was a performer last year, and really loved how powerful sound can be to any script. How important it is to incorporate it into your storytelling to enhance mood, plot, tension, etc. The fact that each writer uses sound as if it is a character? That’s awesome.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

Sucking or draining someone dry.

Beauregarde was last seen tumbling down the sidewalk at ludicrous speed.

Beauregarde was last seen tumbling down the sidewalk at ludicrous speed.

What scares you? 

Those waterlogged spirits that are remakes from Japanese movies, (example The Ring). Any ‘girl’ with matted hair that is coming out of a tub is a enough to make me start screaming to run for your friggin life. And Sharks. I mean they’re the zombies of the sea. Oh, and zombies. Because they’re zombies. Anyone who likes zombies is crazy. It only takes one and it’s the end of the world. THE WORLD!

Come watch Sara bring us to the world’s end with “Fracture Zone” by Christopher M. Walsh in Deathscribe 2014 at the beautiful Mayne Stage on December 1st!

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.>T<

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribes (Part 3 of 5): Jessica Wright Buha

Hey there, Little Red Riding Hood...

Hey there, Little Rad Riding Hood…

Today we’re paying a call on Jessica Wright Buha, author of Deathscribe 2014’s “The Wolf at the Door.” In addition to her current projects adapting Amy Timberlake’s One Came Home for Lifeline Theatre and co-creating a piece for Curious Theatre Branch’s Rhinofest 2015, Jessica won the coveted Bloody Axe award in Deathscribe 2011 with “Alabama Mermaid,” a bluegrass-tinged tale of tragic terror. Jessica will be talking to us about the lingering effects of horror, sibling rivalry, and What Scares Her.

How did you get into horror?

When I was in second grade, I remember riding in a car to go visit Santa with my girl scout troop, and one of the older girls told me my First Ghost Story. It’s the one where a girl keeps getting these creepy phone calls, but she doesn’t worry because every time she gets scared she puts her hand down for her dog to lick, but really it’s this axe murderer licking her hand (!!!) and the story ends with her seeing the dismembered body of her dog hanging outside her window (!!!!!!).

After that, it was all Stephen King novels and jumping from my bedroom doorway straight into my bed to avoid getting sucked into the Great Beyond by the monsters lurking beneath my boxspring.

What excites you most about writing horror, compared to other genres?

What excites me about horror as a genre is that you can really worm your way into people’s brains. Drama doesn’t make you double-check the locks before you go to bed, and a comedy won’t make a typical journey to the basement of your apartment a charged, strange event. But after seeing a proper horror movie, the familiar landscape of our lives becomes changed in a really exciting way.

What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?

For me, it was the story. I have a fraternal twin sister, and we’ve always been a bit competitive with each other.  Through the years, Angela and I have tried to steer clear of each other’s interests and carve out our own niches. But sometimes I wonder what would have happened if we both became very, very, very, desperately interested in the same thing. It’d be a tricky situation.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

I’d love to hear a good, old-timey ghost ship a-creaking about. Or a dead carcass hitting a windshield. I suppose those sounds’re in two different plays.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?

I did this a couple of years ago, and it worked out okay: write two submissions a few months before the deadline, and compare the two. Take the weaker one and beef it up until it’s the stronger one, then do the same to the other. Repeat until you go insane.

Though having a good, meaty soundscape is great, don’t forget about strong visuals.

Also, don’t just think that a good Deathscribe piece needs to have an insanely high body count (or tons and tons  of gore). Horror can take a lot of forms (slow-burning suspense, slasher, supernatural, etc, etc). Go with the sub-genre that excites you the most!

What scares you?

Getting my blood drawn, the creepy axe-murderer that lives in the basement of my apartment building (but always manages to hide JUST IN TIME whenever I open the door), and the thought of coming home to find the asphyxiated body of my dog lying on the floor, having choked to death on some stupid thing that I left on the kitchen table in easy reach.

We'll just assume the axe murderer gave him that while preparing to draw some blood and call this a hat trick.

We’ll just assume the axe murderer gave him that while preparing to draw some blood and call this a hat trick.

Incidentally, my dog is terrified of houseflies. So terrified, in fact, that now the little buggers are starting to freak me out, too.

We can’t wait for Jessica to freak us out with “The Wolf at the Door,” directed by Anderson Lawfer, on December 1st at the Mayne Stage Theatre!

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~T~

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribe Directors (Part 2 of 5): Mary Rose O’Connor

I don't see any thorns, but man is this rose SHARP.

I don’t see any thorns, but man is this rose SHARP.

Today we’re learning the legend of Mary Rose O’Connor, director of “Down by the Lake” by Ignacio Zulueta for Deathscribe 2014. Mary recently directed OUT OF DISORDER at The Greenhouse theater where she is the Director of Education and Special Events, and runs the Trellis bookstore. She’s also a producer for The Gogo Show, a bi-monthly comedy showcase. We’ll be talking with Mary about flexing new muscles, small town living, and What Scares Her.

How did you get into horror?

Wildclaw! My first horror experience was The Life of Death.

What excites you most about directing horror, compared to other genres?

Well I tend to not watch Horror because I’m a huge wimp and everything scares me. So the exciting thing about horror is flexing new muscles and confronting my fears face-first.

What in this script resonated most with you?

This story resonated with me because I think as a kid I found myself always believing in urban legends. I spent the better part of my adolescence in an historical Civil War town, one that had tons of ghost stories. I remember sitting around during sleepovers and retelling stories about inexplicable things happening in our town. This story, the parts that seem fantastic and the parts that seem comedic, felt a lot like the stories we used to hear about as kids.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in directing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Well the biggest challenge, I would say is bridging into this medium. I’ve directed a lot of staged readings, so I’m used to “lack of movement” but without seeing the actors, the focus is more about painting the picture aurally. This is my first radio play!

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

Does death have a sound?

He HATES the refrigerator joke.

He HATES the refrigerator joke.

What scares you?

Rabbits. Literally. I have a phobia. Also serial killers wearing clown masks and little children singing softly.

Come see what Mary Rose dredges up from the lake at Deathscribe on Monday, December 1st at the Mayne Stage Theatre!

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.~T~

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribes (Part 2 of 5): Christopher M. Walsh

Still waters run with Deep Ones

Still waters run with Deep Ones

Today we’re plumbing the depths with Christopher M. Walsh, author of “Fracture Zone,” directed by Sara Sevigny. Christopher was a Deathscribe finalist in 2012 for “Comparing Notes at the End of the World.” He is a company member with Lifeline Theatre, where he has adapted “The Count of Monte Cristo,” “The City & The City,” and “A Tale of Two Cities” with a fourth (“Soon I Will Be Invincible“) coming this spring. He also acts. We’ll be talking with Christopher about formative experiences, Russian history, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

My very first experience was when I was eight or nine years old. My parents were watching Ghost Story on TV. I had been told I couldn’t watch it because it was too scary. I was bored in my room, so I wandered into the living room right at the moment that Alice Krige’s face transforms into this corpse-thing and gives Melvyn Douglas a heart attack. That fucked me up for life. I still can’t watch scary movies.

But then a few years later I read my first Stephen King story (“The Mangler,” from Night Shift) and I thought, “I wanna do something like that.”

What excites you most about writing horror, compared to other genres?

There’s something fun about creating a thing that makes people look at you and ask, “What’s wrong with you?

What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?

The sounds came first. So much about life on a submarine is about sound that it seemed a perfect setting for radio play. I thought of the Russian submarine, the Kursk, that sank in 2000. When divers reached the sub and got inside, they found letters the sailors had written in the dark, in the few hours between the sub landing on the ocean floor and running out of air. I have nightmares about what those hours must have been like.

Plus, the deep ocean is a concept that unnerves me. We’ve sent machines into the far reaches of the solar system and beyond, but something like 90% of the earth’s seabed remains unmapped and unexplored. It’s a part of the world described with terms like “fracture zone,” and “abyssal plain.” There’s something downright Lovecraftian about that.

Or perhaps...BIZARRO?

Or perhaps…BIZARRO?

What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Indicating action without using clunky expository dialogue. Most of my rewriting time was spent fixing that kind of stuff.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

Children’s laughterespecially when you can’t actually see the children – is a particularly unsettling sound.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?

Let the audience’s imagination do the work for you. Describe the sounds you want to hear as clearly as you can, make your characters’ reactions genuine, and the audience will fill in the blanks.

What scares you?

Tight spaces, religious conservatism.

Christopher will make you want to curl up and pray when we unleash “Fracture Zone” at The Mayne Stage Theatre this December 1st!

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.~T~

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribe Directors (Part 1 of 5): Kevin Theis

If you say his name into the mirror three times, he'll appear. I hope.

If you say his name into the mirror three times, he’ll appear. I hope.

Today we’re channeling the spirit of Kevin Theis, director of Steve Baldwin’s “Please Stand By.” In addition to returning for the THIRD TIME as a Deathscribe Director, directing Lifeline’s runaway hit production of “Monstrous Regiment” and Festival Theatre’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” Kevin just won an Jeff Award for Outstanding Ensemble with Irish Theatre of Chicago’s production of “The Seafarer.” We’ll be talking about how horror mirrors current events, demystifying sound design, and What Scares Him.

How has your relationship to horror changed since you became involved with Deathscribe?

This is my third year at the helm of one of these shows and what I love the most is how eagerly and vociferously the audience responds to something truly terrifying during the Deathscribe performances.  Gasps of astonishment, cries of terror…that’s what theatre is all about, isn’t it?  It forces you to look even harder for those moments in your show when you can make the audience jump out of their seats.

What excites you most about directing horror, compared to other genres?

Horror is much more visceral, and less apologetic about it, than straight theatre can be.  You can pretend to cleave someone’s head from their body, eviscerate characters right in front of the audience, force people to face their greatest fears….and they thank you for it an clamor for more.  It is an extremely rewarding genre to work in.

What in this script resonated most with you?

“Please Stand By,” is a very timely and resonant piece.  Without giving much away, it involves the spread of a virus, played out in real time in the media.  Nothing could possibly be more relevant than a story like that in our new age of Ebola panic.  It plays directly into a fear that a lot of people are experiencing right now, taken to its logical, absurd conclusion.  I can’t wait to show it to people.

How has Deathscribe changed your relationship to sound design as an artist and an audience member?

Sound is an under-appreciated discipline, without question.  People notice the sets because…there they areThey notice the lighting because it guides the audience’s focus from scene to scene.  But sound design is enigmatic.  It calls attention to itself only when it really wants and needs you to pay attention to it.  And really clever sound design can make or break a show, especially when you’re trying to build tension and suspense.  And, of course, the WildClaw Foley artists are beyond compare.  Endlessly creative, fantastically collaborative and fearless.  I can’t wait to get started.

Bashful

When asked for comment, the WildClaw Foley artists got…oh GAWRSH.

What have you learned from previous Deathscribes that you’re excited to use this time around?

When I first began working on these shows, I wasn’t sure what to expect.  Was it radio theatre?  Was it theatre disguised as radio?  Is it a kind of aural/horror/reader’s theatre hybrid?  The answer seems to be:  All of the above.  Deathscribe is what you make of it.  There are no rules.  Which is what makes it so fun.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

I dunno.  I’ve heard a lot.  I’ve heard human heads split open and shoot deadly spores.  I’ve heard grown men eaten by giant, flesh-eating fish.  This year, I just want to sit back and see what’s in store.

Do you listen to any podcasts? What advice would you give a director about radio performance?

I listen to a LOT of podcasts, but they’re mostly political.  The only “spooky” podcast I listen to with any regularity is “Welcome to Nightvale,” which is a wonderfully creepy, hilarious show. And I don’t know if I’m qualified to give any specific advice, other than to be very, very specific about what you want to hear from both your actors and your Foley artists.  Being vague won’t provide you with the exact vomit sound you may be looking for.

What scares you?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again:  There is nothing not scary about frogs.  Horrible creatures.

Did I leave anything out?

I’ve got nothing to hide, so you can pretty much ask me anything.  Well….except for what that smell is coming from my trunkThat’s none of your damn business.

We’ll make Kevin’s business OUR business when we see his take on Steve Baldwin’s “Please Stand By” on Monday, December 1st at the Mayne Stage Theatre!

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.~T~

Meet Our 2014 Deathscribes (Part 1 of 5): Kevin Alves

Looks just as good onstage as on paper...

Looks just as good onstage as on paper…

Welcome to our first spotlight interview with the braiiiiiiiiins behind Deathscribe 2014! For the next five weeks, we’ll be showcasing the writers and directors dedicated to delivering our newest crop of audio traumas on December 1st at the beautiful Mayne Stage Theatre. Today, we’re exploring the storybook existence of first-time Deathscribe Kevin Alves. Kevin is no stranger to things that go bump (or squish) in the night: in addition to being a regular in The Bruised Orange Theater Company‘s “I Saw You,” performing funny and ridiculous personal ads from in and around Chicago every Wednesday night at the Town Hall Pub and the first Monday of every month at Mary’s Attic, Kevin stars as Harold Bloodstone in The Factory Theater‘s Hotel Aphrodite, a farce set in a Sybaris-styled sex hotel opening November 14th. Kevin is going to talk to us today about stretching yourself artistically, motherly love, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

My first touch of horror was A Nightmare on Elm Street.  Freddy scared the shit out of me because the one time you should feel safe is while you’re sleeping.  He messed that up for me.

What excites you most about writing horror, compared to other genres?

My mom always said that I have a weird, sick mind (in a good, loving motherly way).  It’s nice to let some of the dark out, on occasion.

What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?

It was a blend of the character and music.  I ran across an album called Waltz of the Monsters.  It’s an orchestral album with a lot of slow toy piano pieces.  Sounds like that creep me out and put my brain in a weird place.  The main character, Louis, is based on a character I did in a performance of “I Saw You”.  The personal ad was from a guy who just wanted “some body”.  He was very lonely and he felt very sad.  A mind set like that can make you do crazy things to feel loved and I wanted to explore that.

What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?

Remembering that you’re having to show action through sound only.  No “The room is decorated with this” or “Steve cringes in fear”.  You have to show everything through your words and the Foley.

I'm sorry, Monsieur Marceau, I know it hurts when we talk about you like you're not hear.

I’m sorry, Monsieur Marceau, I know it hurts when we talk about you like you’re not hear.

What discoveries have you made about storytelling during this process that you are excited to use in future projects?

Since this is one of the first things I’ve written since college, the fact that I am writing excites me for more in the future.

What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?

Someone expelling all of their internal organs and/or exploding.  Good luck with that one.

Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?

I almost wrote and submitted Louis for Deathscribe 2013, but I didn’t because, since I’m not a “writer”, I did not have the confidence.  This year, I gave myself the artistic goal to suck it up, stretch myself, and just do it.  I thought, “They’ll pick it or not pick it.  Either way, this is for me to see what I’ve got on the inside and to step into something outside of my realm.”  My advice would be if you’re interested in it, just do it.  Put yourself out there and something good may come out of it.  If not, at least you proved to yourself that you can do it.  Sometimes it works out in the end (case in point).

What scares you?

As a 39 year old man I am sad to say that the dark still scares the shit out of me.  If you can see what you’re fighting, you can possibly find a weakness.  If not, you’re just screwed.  In the dark, you’re always screwed.

What’s your favorite kind of snake?

The dead kind.  (I’ll be here all week).

Kevin’s here all week, but Deathscribe is One Night Only! Come check out Kevin’s “Louis,” directed by Shade Murray, at the beautiful Mayne Stage on Monday, December 1st!

^_ _^
.~T~