How would you describe your show in one sentence?
It is a dark tale following the fantasies of broken people trying to escape a world that has abandoned them.
Horror is notoriously difficult to pull off onstage – how do you approach it?
We’ve focused majorly on developing strong characters that live in an abstract and generally unnerving environment. We’ve found lots of unsettling sounds and set pieces for them to interact with, which should thoroughly unsettle the audience. Our piece relies a lot on silences and a big reveal at the end, not to mention an incestuous pregnancy. How could we go wrong?
How did the show develop?
I’ve always been a fan of Lanford Wilson, who is an American playwright currently underperformed here. Theatrum Veritatus decided to put it on for the Camden Fringe and, during this time, we were invited by London Horror to participate and we couldn’t be happier. We’ve had time to tweak the show during our time at The Clapham Fringe to develop it into a real spine tingling piece, you definitely leave feeling shaken and aghast.
Given a blank cheque is there an existing horror story you’d like to bring to the stage?
Instead of an already written horror story I would love to develop a show revolving around the ghosts who are found in the theatres of London. It could be a really immersive piece, think PunchDrunk meets House of Horrors. It’d be great.
Are special effects essential for horror on stage or is it more effective to conjure an image in an audience’s mind?
Sometimes it’s both. I think if you’re going for a sci-fi horror then special effects are kind of essential. Beast or monster horrors too, although a lot of that can be done by conjuring a horrific image in the audience’s mind. I would say one of my golden rules with stage blood is the darker and thicker it is: The better.
On film, horror can be quite explicit, is there anything on stage you wouldn’t do?
I think on stage a lot of the power in horror is in what you can’t or are not allowed to see. Things that are properly implied by music, lights, acting and so on are those that can build up that tense feeling in the back of your neck. surprises and reveals can sometimes be tricky, so I find if you can set up a good reveal it can be very satisfactory for those who want to be unsettled and scared. On film, you have the extra bonus of a layer of remove, in the theatre it’s all in front of you -live.
What’s the one show that you don’t want to miss at this year’s Horror Festival (apart from your own!)?
For me, it’ll be the three playwriting finalists. I love new writing and I get very excited by emerging writer trying their hand at such a difficult genre.
What’s your favourite scary movie?
I think I’d have to say 28 Days Later. I love stuff that relies on dystopian societies and apocalyptic settings, it really helps to up the stakes in survival and for me I just get terrified about the thought of things living in abandoned buildings.
What’s your top tip for any company wanting to produce horror on stage?
I would say, try and be imaginative and not always rely on the same tricks you’d think would work on film. Sometimes, the more abstract you go the more unnerving you can be, it could also save you money haha! Also, don’t show too much, keep the audience guessing and wanting more.
Your show has been invited to a Halloween fancy dress party – what do you go as?
The human centipede.
Theatrum Veritatus stage Home Free! at The London Horror Festival The Etcetera Theatre: 20 September – 16 October
For more information visit www. theatrumveritatus.wix.com/homefree