How would you describe your show in one sentence?
A dark, supernatural comedy that will make you laugh, cry and jump out your skin.
Horror is notoriously difficult to pull off onstage – how do you approach it?
I think the best horror comes from people, places and things we are familiar and comfortable with. That way the experience feels more personal, disturbing and powerful when you manipulate it. I start by looking at things people relate to on an everyday basis and then preying on it. The other ingredient I always add is humour; it is the perfect accompaniment to horror.
How did the show develop?
It actually started as a comedy sketch. I tried adapting it as a 20 minute short play, but it grew beyond that. After a few months of struggling to finish, my fiancée Bec told me the Etcetera Theatre was looking for shows for the LHF. So I booked a date for a read through, invited three wonderfully talented actor friends to read the parts and the LHF team down to watch. That pressure really helped me finish.
Given a blank cheque is there an existing horror story you’d like to bring to the stage?
I got obsessed with the HBO show, “The Jinx”. It blew me away and I strongly advise people to watch it without googling the real life story. Bringing it to stage would take a great deal of adaptation as so much of its horror comes from the fact that it played out as a real life/real time story, but nothing is impossible.
Are special effects essential for horror on stage or is it more effective to conjure an image in an audience’s mind?
I am a firm believer that letting the audience fill in the gaps themselves is far more powerful and rewarding than spoon-feeding them information. You can use a special effect to enhance that, but you have to set it up correctly so that it hits them intrinsically and effectively. A good special effect won’t mask the cracks of poor storytelling.
On film, horror can be quite explicit, is there anything on stage you wouldn’t do?
I would never rule anything out if it served the story that I was trying to tell.
What’s the one show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Horror Festival (apart from your own!)?
Slow Fade to Bleak by Casual Violence. I’ve seen a couple of their Edinburgh shows and I love their humour; it has the same dark edge to it that I try to employ.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
I’d have to say Scream – which seems apt in relation to the question! In addition to plenty of scares, it’s loaded with humour and intelligence. It’s the king of the meta-horror and I’m still a huge believer of the third killer theory.
What’s your top tip for any company wanting to produce horror on stage?
Make sure that the story is the most important thing and write what scares you.
Your show has been invited to a Halloween fancy dress party – who/what do you go as?
Nicolas Cage’s portrayal of Edward Malus in The Wicker Man; truly terrifying… Sorry, terrible. truly terrible.
Gavin Innes presents Ideomotor at the London Horror Festival Monday 26 – Friday 30 October 2015 at9pm
For more information visit www.londonhorrorfestival.com