Find the Superbowl a Frightful Bore? Check Out Some Horror Happenings This Weekend in Chicago!

Oh horror fans, you have no idea what lies in store for you this weekend.

No, I’m not talking about that thing on Sunday where two teams of Jason-X impersonators toss around a dead pig…though you do make a good argument.

Face it, Watterson gives Mrs. Bates a run for her money in the recluse department...

In the next panel, Calvin comes back with a chainsaw…

I am, of course, talking about our fantastic and phantasmic production of The Revenants, and we’ve got some deals worth screaming about:

All weekend long, you can get ten dollars off a full-priced ticket using the code word “poptarts” online and at the box office. And SUNDAY, tickets are ONLY TEN DOLLARS (that’s right) with the code word “deflate.”

But that’s not all! Sunday night, after our 3 pm performance of The Revenants, you can head over to Geek Bar Beta for dinner with like-minded individuals to learn more about Sleep Study, an experimental new trans-media horror series.

And maybe you’re not convinced the weekend ENDS on Sunday? For those of you tired of doing the same thing over and over on Mondays, you should join us at Black Rock Pub & Kitchen for The Whiskey Radio Hour‘s winter roundup of live audio drama, featuring “The Crypt of Arabella Dodd,” by Our Fair City writer Jim McDoniel, and starring WildClaw’s own Josh Zagoren.

Come out and share a scare this weekend!

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.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Gore Engineer Ryan Oliver

Knight on Bald Mountain

Knight on Bald Mountain

Gore Engineer Ryan Oliver is one of our returning collaborators from WildClaw’s original production of The Revenants. We’ll be talking today about fates worse than death, hungering for quality kids’ programming, and What Scares Him.

1) What was your introduction to horror?

It’s hard to accurately pinpoint a specific moment but, I remember watching some random kid’s show where a performer in a ‘monster costume’ came out and ate another character whole.  I thought it was dynamite, from there on I’d watch Sesame Street and pine for the puppets to start cannibalizing each other. ‘The Muppet Show’ too- ‘Sweetums’ and ‘Gorgon Heap‘ were my favorites.

2) How would you define horror as a genre? What, to you, is the perfect horror story, & why?  

I took a Robert McKee (Brian Cox played him in ‘Adaptation’) horror screenwriting seminar.  In class, he defined horror as a genre in which the characters of a story were dealt a fate worse than death.  I tend to agree with that.  As in, you’re not just getting killed by an alien, it’s going to lay an egg inside of you and eventually when it hatches the offspring will violently explode from your body cavity.  The Exorcist will probably never be topped.  When you’re at your most heightened state of white-knuckled fear, humans call out for one of two things, God or Mother.  The Exorcist demolishes the institutions of motherhood and religion in a pretty thorough fashion.  In the end, the viewer isn’t left with much to hold onto.  It’s magnificent.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow? 

Zombies are slow, anything faster belongs in ‘outbreak’ territory.  I kind of stopped giving a shit, really.

4) In re-visitng The Revenants, what challenge surprised you the most this time around? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future? 

Well, if I go into that too much I’ll ruin a surprise or two.  My job is to make actors bleed on cue in a live setting and the challenge is always the best part of it.  Generally speaking, I have to hide ‘this and that’ in the set or on an actor, it’s different every time.  I just come in on tech week, make a decision and install my gear.  I was lucky enough in both runs of the play to have kick-ass blood operators in Coye Vega and Norine McGrath (respectively)  It’s in the timing and skill of the operator that makes or breaks the believability of effect.

No, George, not that kind of Goretex...

No, George, not *that* kind of Goretex…

5) What Scares You?

I’d hate to be a hostage by religious fanatics or narco kidnappers, that would fucking suck.  Being videotaped while some asshole chops you up on liveleak.com would be the worst way to go, it’s not only a loss of life but dignity to boot.  Other than that, being eaten alive by a shark or a lion sounds pretty shitty, or maybe by some giant razor-toothed muppet.

Come enjoy our fine culinary fare & fear in The Revenants at The Athenaeum Theater through February 22nd!

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.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Understudy Bergen Anderson

Understudy in Emerald

Understudy in Emerald

Bergen Anderson understudies both Karen and Molly for Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants, and we can all learn a thing or two about how seamlessly she switches from friend to feeder. We’re talking today about her formative years, heightened realism, and What Scares Her.

1) Do you consider yourself a horror fan?

I guess it depends on what you call horror. I cannot watch scary movies, they make me afraid of my life. I AM a big fan of monster/creature movies and tv shows. Sometimes those fall under the horror genre, right?

2) What was your introduction to horror?

I remember seeing a movie in middle school about vampires and it was so so scary. It made me scared of rocking chairs for a very very long time.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Slow. Then I have more time to run away (see question 5).

No, don't tell her you learned how to use the elevator--let it be a surprise.

No, don’t tell her you learned how to use the elevator–let it be a surprise.

4) How is creating a character for horror different than for other genres of storytelling? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

I think creating a character in the horror genre has the possibility of being extremely imaginative when you consider that you might be working with heightened realism or even within another world. Working on this project has definitely helped me embrace horror as something that can be fun instead of just really f-ing scary. (Can I say that?) I would say I’m excited to see more horror theatre!!

5) What Scares You?

Things under the bed (I’m serious). Being chased (this is a big one).

Come see what has Bergen so excited about horror theatre! The Revenants performs at The Athenaeum Theater through February 22nd!

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Sound Designer Rick Sims

Running through February 22nd

Running through February 22nd

Sound designer Rick Sims joins us today to talk about hopelessness in horror, avoiding cliches, and What Scares Him.

1) Do you consider yourself a horror fan?

I don’t consider myself a horror fan per se but more of a suspense/thriller fan. Think Alfred Hitchcocks “The Birds” or “Jaws”. Also really dig films like “Rosemary’s Baby” and “The Omen”

2 ) What was your introduction to horror?

I was introduced to a lot of Vincent Price films in my childhood. My local TV station had a show called Tales Of Terror where they’d play horror movies on Friday nights. “Evil Dead” also made an impression on me. The amount of blood, gore and hopelessness was overwhelming.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Slow. Like Lava oozing down the edge of a volcano.

4) How is design for horror different than for other genres of storytelling? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

A) My job as sound designer wasn’t all that different for Revenants than any other play. My sound and music needed to serve the story and evoke a feeling/emotion. For instance, the show needed the sound of zombies overtaking the house or it wouldn’t have made sense. Musically, I had to cover scene transitions which is what I would do for any other play. The main challenge was to not get tripped up by the devices of the horror film genre and just do my thing.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

B) A real gun always sounds better than a recorded gun, avoid cliches, think out of the box and don’t be afraid to be counter-intuitive.

5) What Scares You?

Waking up at 3am to go pee when I’m sleeping at an old house. Intellectually I understand there’s no such thing as paranormal activity but……..

All weekend long, you can use the code word “sherman” for $10 off full priced tickets, and tickets are just $12 with a valid student I.D.! Join us for Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants at The Athenaeum Theater!

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.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Actor Elizabeth Birnkrant

A Shooting Star (acquitted)

A Shooting Star (acquitted)

Elizabeth Birnkrant is back on the WildClaw stage after joining us in Deathscribe 2012! Elizabeth plays Karen, a survivor of the zombie apocalypse whose marriage is not falling apart…though her husband kinda is. We’ll be talking today about pseudo-horror, the magic of tech, and What Scares Her.

1) Do you consider yourself a horror fan? 

At the risk of alienating anyone reading this… not really. I am (uncharacteristically) vanilla about horror. I get scared incredibly easily and tend to like pseudo-horror, like episodics about attractive teenage vampires. However, I am a huge WildClaw fan, and my experience working with the company is that it’s made up of some of the most generous, fun, and hilarious artists in the city.

2) What was your introduction to horror?

I remember being totally freaked out as a kid watching A Nightmare on Elm Street at a birthday party. I am still not good with any movie where things jump out unexpectedly. This past year I got (embarrassingly) hooked on some pseudo-horror netflix series about werewolves and vampires and teenagers making out in the woods (can you blame me?) and confessed the obsession to my friend Jake Carr, who is a legit horror fan (and, recently, filmmaker). He was so appalled by my choice of entry into the horror genre that he insisted I “man up,” and watch American Horror Story. I watched the first episode having to cover my eyes half the time, but am now completely addicted to the show.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Even I know enough to say slow.

THAT's using your...*drool*...

THAT’s using your…*drool*…

 

4)How is creating a character for horror different than for other genres of storytelling? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

Well, as I write this we haven’t yet gotten to tech, where I think that most of the differences will come. Tech is always this hugely exciting time, in a production, because, as an actor, you’ve done about as much as you can on your own, and with the other actors, director, and playwright. And I know, for me, I usually feel stuck. Like there is more to do but I’m not quite sure where. And then you step into this three dimensional world where you get to interact with design – set, lights, sound, props, costumes, makeup. And each of the designers are telling part of the story for you, and it is hugely inspiring and suddenly you can do more, as part of a larger whole.

With horror the design elements are going to be that much more helpful, because they’ll bring things to life – like the danger from outside, or grotesque illness – that so far we’ve only imagined.

One of the things that I’ve found extremely challenging and also exciting about this production, which I haven’t had to work with as much before, is the imposition of external elements – like sickness, injury, danger from outside. These elements are external the way having to wear a corset is external – they are parts of the story that are not generated by the (obviously internal) psyche of the characters. So, in this production I got to do a lot of working from the “outside in” – seeing how the external elements changed how I felt and thought and what I wanted from my scene partners. This doesn’t only happen in horror, but in horror the external elements are so unusual that they can’t help but change you. I found this incredibly exciting, and it’s something that I’d like to play with more in the future.

5) What Scares You?

Rats. Falling down stairs and knocking out my teeth. Being kidnapped. Intimacy. Those girls from The Shining.

Come check out Elizabeth’s bravely intimate performance in The Revenants at The Athenaeum Theater through February 22nd!

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.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Graphic Artist Charlie Athanas

Poster Design by Charlie Athanas

Poster Design by Charlie Athanas

Charlie is a WildClaw founding member, and has guided the company aesthetic from our poster art for Great God Pan through every single Deathscribe, in addition to designing the set for the premiere production of The Revenants back in 2009. Today, we’ll be talking about reading between the lines, variations on a theme, and What Scares Him.

1) What was your introduction to horror?

Watching “The Haunting” (1963) on TV at home alone with my older sister. Scariest thing I had seen and would see until catching “Alien” at an early showing prior to its release. No one had any idea what they were in for and it scared the hell out of everyone in the theater.

2) How would you define horror as a genre? What, to you, is the perfect horror story, & why?

Horror as a genre to me is defined by works of art that inspire fear, revulsion, curiosity, and mystery. I would say “The Telltale Heart” by Edgar Allen Poe would meet my definition of the perfect horror story.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Slow. It is in the “in-between spaces” where the interesting things happen.

4) In re-visitng The Revenants, what challenge surprised you the most this time around? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

For myself as the poster designer, the toughest challenge was coming up with an image as strong as the first poster for the first production of The Revenants. I was trying to top myself and as an illustrator you work long and hard to come up with the perfect image that suits both the production and the brand. To create one successfully the first time is hard enough, to hope that lightning strikes twice is tempting fate. I did come upon an image that worked for me, but the rest of the company immediately pointed out that it evoked the Lord of the Rings and that killed it.

Trust me, you DO NOT want to deal with Tolkien's IP lawyers.

Trust me, you DO NOT want to deal with Tolkien’s IP lawyers.

In the end I am satisfied with the new graphic. I hope it evokes the fear and dread and flips a trope or two on its head at the same time. And puts bums in the seats.

5) What Scares You?

Genuine surprises scare me. And suspenseful expectation. There is a moment in this new production of The Revenants that has both and it makes for a great scene in the play. And from the vocal audience reactions we’re getting from the theatre crowd (known for its respectful silence) during this scene, it is doing its job quite well.

You can see what meets Charlie’s suspenseful expectations in The Revenants at The Athenaeum Theater through February 22nd!
 
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.~T~

The Revenants Spotlight Interview: Actor Drew Johnson

An Exquisite Corpse

An Exquisite Corpse

Now that our heart-pounding remount of The Revenants is up and walking (no running zombies, please–we’re purists), we’ll be treating you every week to interviews with the talent that brought this beast to life (well, not LIFE, exactly…we’ll work on it).

Drew Johnson joins WildClaw for the first time as Joe, Karen’s husband, Gary’s best friend, and one of the infected…but just what, if anything, is going on in his head? We’ll be talking with Drew about child-friendly viewing, the meaning of a genre, and What Scares Him.

1) Do you consider yourself a horror fan?

Yes. Though I tend to lean towards SciFi Horror.

2) What was your introduction to horror?

I remember sleeping over at a friend’s house when I was maybe 8 or 9. We caught an airing of one of the Child’s Play movies on late night TV. Chucky was way too much to handle for a kid who was a little too scared to watch The NeverEnding Story or The Goonies.

3) Zombies: Fast or Slow?

Slow for better character development and storytelling, but I’m terrified by the idea of an unending horde of creatures that I can’t outrun.

4) How is creating a character for horror different than for other genres of storytelling? What lessons have you learned from this project that you’re excited to use in the future?

At the end of the day, I try to approach a role in a similar way whether it’s in a zombie play, children’s theatre, or Shakespeare. Even a zombie or a vampire or a fish monster has wants and needs.

Bride Frank

The biggest adjustment, I think, is the approach that the director and design team have to take. They have to balance the typical demands of their respective positions with the demands of the genre. At its core, horror has to frighten us in some way if it’s going to be successful. Terrifying the audience isn’t something that we’re typically trying to do in other genres of theatre.

5) What Scares You?

Persistence. Things unseen, but heard.

Come check out Drew’s great work in The Revenants at The Athenaeum Theater through February 22nd!
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.~T~

Sadie and the stark at Double Door TONIGHT!

The Revenants is teching this weekend, and will be ready up to help you ring in the new fear with previews January 8th and 9th and opening night on the 10th. But tonight? Oh…tonight…do we ever have a tasty morsel to send your way. Those of you lucky enough to see Sadie and the stark tear it up at Deathscribe 2014 know of which I speak.

Under the Skin...and all through my dreams...

Under the Skin…and all through my dreams…

Jumpstart your 2015 by seeing one of Chicago’s most sinister sirens light up the stage at Double Door. She’s part of a deliciously diabolical line-up, but you know which devil we’re advocating.

Sadie Double Door

Doors at 8 pm. $10 cover. More details here.

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.~T~

Donate Now! Keep the Blood Flowing in 2015!

You are to blame really. Without your support in 2014 we would not have been able to provide all the twisted hi-jinks of this last year:

The Shadow Over Innsmouth
Super Lovecraft Saturday: The Dreams in the Witch House Reading
Open Heart Surgery: WildClaw Salon
Risen: WildClaw Theatre Easter Special Salon
WildClaw in the Wild: The Boy Who Lived Forever
WildClaw in the Wild: The Old Nurse’s Tale
WildClaw In The Works DCASE Residency: A Taste of Terror
Deathscribe 2014

We hope you will join us again in 2015 as we bring OUR MOST HORRIFYINGLY AMBITIOUS YEAR YET! Join us as we bring a WildClaw fan favorite back to the stage with Scott T. Barsotti’s The Revenants starting on January 8th. Then in June we bring you Motel 666, an original horror anthology.  In the winter, we will kick off the holidays again with Deathscribe 2015 in December and then Charm City, a new play by Clint Shaeffer inspired by the stories of Edgar Allan Poe.

Your donation will help make it happen. EVERY PENNY COUNTS.

You have likely heard this before, but ticket sales alone only cover a small portion of a theatre company’s operating budget. You can support us RIGHT NOW, by making a donation directly through PayPal. It’s fast, free and secure. WildClaw Theatre is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization, so your donation is tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.

CHECK OR MONEY ORDER
Or if you would prefer, you can send a check or money order made out to WildClaw Theatre to this address:

WildClaw Theatre
c/o Brian Amidei-Managing Director
3900 N Monticello Ave
Chicago IL 60618

If you own or operate a business, please consider becoming a sponsor of the WildClaw Theatre! Our Sponsors are respected partners in everything we do and their logos and names appear prominently with our thanks in our programs, marketing, and mailers. For more information about the perks of being a WildClaw Sponsor contact Brian Amidei, managing director at bjamidei@gmail.com.

 


The Revenants 2015 Trailer!