I walk the line...between realities...

I walk the line…between realities…

Today we’re sharing a brew with Deathscribe Travis Williams, author of “Strange Weather.” After being a finalist last year with his play “The Wall,”┬áTravis is very excited to once again be part of Wildclaw Theatre’s Deathscribe! Hailing from Ohio, Travis has been active in the Chicago arts community for several years. His latest play “Circle Be Unbroken” was recently performed in Theatre Seven’s Production “Unwilling and Hostile Instruments…” Travis’ play “Chicago Collage”, will be featured in New York this May with MTWorks. He is also working on developing a graphic novel as well as a short horror film. He is currently performing as the understudy of Johnny Cash and Sam Phillips in the production of “Million Dollar Quartet.” He wishes to thank his wife Elizabeth, for her love and support, and Wildclaw, for creating this one of a kind horrific event! We’ll be talking to Travis about making his own rules, building environments for his stories, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

My mother made me and my sister sit down with her and my Dad to watch the movie, “The Exorcist“. I was 10 years old, my sister was 7 years old. It was a moment I’ll never forget.

Also when I was in grade school, I wrote a twisted poem about a vampire, after being inspired by the movie “Interview with a Vampire“. My mother’s reaction to the poem showed me the true power of what it meant to write something so creepy… She hated it and thought something was wrong with me… I told her Edgar Allen Poe wrote it, and I’ve been interested in the genre ever since.

Edgar wasn't invited over to the Williams house anymore after that, which did nothing for his self-esteem.

Edgar wasn’t invited over to the Williams house anymore after that, which did nothing for his self-esteem.

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

I like to think that everyone is afraid of something, and it’s really fascinating to explore what really creeps people out, including myself. You get to create your own rules for the unknown, like understanding how monsters survive, how people become ghosts when they die, or if zombies can ever become who they once were! In horror everything that exists in a story is meant to be taken as an extension of some truth based around reality, and that’s exciting to write about and discover.

What was the hook for you in this story?

The environment. When I was looking for a story to write, I kept thinking, what would be the first sound that would pull people right into the world of the play?

When I was a kid, I grew up in a small town and every other week a tornado siren would go off just about a quarter mile away from where we lived. The test would last for about a good minute or two and it was pretty jarring hearing that, but I always knew I wanted to put that sound in a story someday. So once I had that sound the environment created itself.

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

Every sound creates your characters environment. Being able to picture everything that is within your characters’ reach, that makes noise, and provides imagery for the listener, that’s the biggest challenge. Radio forces you to be very very detailed with your choice in dialogue and really coloring the world you create with sound.

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

Continuing to be fully immersed in the world that the characters exist in. It’s a good practice that I use in all of my writing, but with radio in particular you have to change the practice just a little because your listeners are using their imaginations to see the play. And that’s a unique technique to use in story telling.

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

A tentacle wrapping around its prey and squeezing it till we hear the snapping of bones… too much?

Do you have any advice for aspiring Deathscribes?

Have as much fun as possible! Take your time with your script and trust yourself. Even if you don’t know how a certain sound will work on stage, you’re in the hands of amazing people who do!

Have you ever had an encounter with a ghost?

I’ve had 3.

What scares you?

Spiders. Snakes. And old basements...

Travis will show us how to have as much fun as possible when we produce his “Strange Weather,” directed by Jan Blixt, at Deathscribe 2013 THIS MONDAY, December 2nd at the Mayne Stage Theatre! Tickets are going fast!

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