Today we’re getting The Big Reveal from Jake Carr, writer of “Cheap Plastic Mask.” As a lifelong disciple of the horror genre, Jake Carr is thrilled to be part of Deathscribe. In Chicago, he is an Artistic Associate with Genesis Ensemble where he co-writes and devises original works, including The Rest Unknown and In Love’s Bright Coils. He writes sketch comedy with GayCo Productions, a company where “gay” is the given instead of the punch line. Several of his pieces are now in the company’s touring repertoire and have recently been produced at Second City’s UP Comedy Club and Metropolis Performing Arts Centre. He is nearing his 100th horror movie review on his blog lovehatehorror.blogspot.com. Jake is also an actor and is proud to be an instructor with Black Box Acting. Coming up, he is acting Step Up Productions’ HoliDaze, (also featuring direction by Black Box & Deathscribe 2013’s Laura Hooper!) running from December 3rd-December 22. We’ll be getting the skinny today from Jake on specificity, Horror as reward, and What Scares Him.
How did you get into horror?
I’ve had a fascination with horror from a very young age. One of the earliest memories I have of seeing a movie in theatres is Aliens 3. When I was in elementary school, my parents rewarded me for doing my chores by treating me to video rentals. I meticulously worked my way through my local Blockbuster’s horror VHS section. My parents trusted my ability to differentiate between fiction and reality and encouraged my passion for art of all forms (and yes, horror movies count as art).
What excites you most about writing horror, compared to other genres?
I love being scared. Consciously avoiding your natural instinct to run from fear is powerful; you can feel it in your bones. The thought of being able to control an audience member’s heart rate with my words is beyond satisfying. It’s a privilege, really.
What was the hook for you in this story? What came first, the story or the sound?
The creation of Cheap Plastic Mask actually started with the desire to explore the conventions of horror films in a new medium, particularly those relating to my favorite subgenre: visceral slasher movies. Slasher narratives (played straight) rarely exist in performance outside of film which I think is a missed opportunity. Audiences flock to slasher movies. They should be given the opportunity to enjoy slasher theatre and radio entertainment as well.
What do you consider the biggest challenge in writing for “radio,” compared to traditional theatre?
Knowing that every audience member will imagine a different world for my script inside their head is both exciting and challenging. I wanted to be specific with the soundscape I created while still allowing room for personal interpretation, especially in regards to the stark depictions of violence.
What discoveries have you made about storytelling during this process that you are excited to use in future projects?
It was refreshing to consciously utilize silence in the radio play format to create tension and set up scares. Stillness is such a powerful tool. It fights against the constant pressure of making something interesting happen.
What sound would you most like to see/hear performed in a Deathscribe piece?
A slow, wheezing, gurgle of blood…which is super uncomfortable to admit.
Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?
Write the story that would make you jump with excitement if you saw/heard it performed.
What scares you?
The thought of being trapped in a doomed situation scares the crap out of me. Doing the “right” things, making smart and compassionate choices, but still finding yourself on the losing end of a life threatening situation. Also, I’m scared by the prospect of horrific elements invading honest, every day circumstances. The more that I can realistically imagine myself in the shoes of the protagonists, the more readily available I am to be truly startled.
Come let Jake truly startle you with “Cheap Plastic Mask,” directed by Noah Simon, at Deathscribe, Monday, December 2nd. ONE WEEK FROM TODAY!