It's a trick. Got an axe.

It’s a trick. Got an axe.

Our conductor today is Kevin Theis, who directed last year’s Bloody Axe winning entry, “Fish Story,” and is directing this year’s “We Apologize for the Inconvenience,” by Chelsea Paice. Kevin is a Jeff-nominated actor and director, and, among SO many other things, a company member with Seanachai Theatre, where he’ll next be seen in their upcoming “The Seafarer” by Conor McPherson, beginning November 29th, running run through January 5, 2014, as…well, I’m not going to spoil it, I’ll just say it’s perfect. After that, he’s directing “Monstrous Regiment” at Lifeline and “The Importance of Being Earnest” at the Oak Park Festival Theatre in the summer.  We’ll be talking to Kevin about how Horror forces him to be brave, the beauty of a strong reaction, and What Scares Him.

How did you get into horror?

Actually, last year’s DEATHSCRIBE event was my first dip into horror for the stage, though I’ve been a fan of horror movies since I was a kid.  The closest thing to a horror play that I’ve ever staged was, I believe, Lifeline’s “The Picture of Dorian Gray” which had many lovely aspects of the genre (blood, violence, a bit of the supernatural).  But I’m certainly thrilled to be back.

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

Plays can do a lot of things- provoke, stimulate, excite, educate- but they don’t often get you to leap out of your seat in terror or cause you to shriek like a girl.  Horror can do that and who doesn’t want their audience to have a nice, strong reaction?  Heh, heh.

What in this script resonated most with you?

The way it very gradually turns from a mundane, run-of-the-mill day on the CTA to a terrifying cataclysm.  And in only eleven pages!  It is quite a feat and our author, Chelsea Paice, has richly deserved her acceptance into this year’s contest.

Worst episode of Soul Train, EVER.

Worst episode of Soul Train, EVER.

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

Clarity.  American actors can be mumbly and sloppy with their diction and when you’re doing radio, you need to be clear and concise with everything in order to allow the listener to see the scene in their minds’ eye.  If you’re sloppy, things get confusing.

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

Hire the right actors.  That’s number one.  Get the right ensemble and half of your work is already done.  Also:   Don’t be afraid to ask someone you think might be too busy to work with you.  Chances are, they’re not.

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

Something about werewolvesI like werewolves.

If you could direct any horror piece for the stage, what would you choose?

A multi-million dollar full-scale stage version of “Army of Darkness.”  It would be….groovy.

What scares you?

Frogs.  But keep it to yourself.

Come watch Kevin bring the groovy to Deathscribe 2013 on Monday, December 2nd!

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