Monday, October 27, 2014

Halloween Plays and Bands at Silent Barn

Ghosts scare the shit out of me. Always have. I'm from supposedly one of the most haunted towns in America, and grew up hearing first hand ghost stories from sane friends and parents. I frequently slept over one friend's house where a family had burned alive during the 1800's, and another who's home was supposedly haunted by a widow waiting for her husband to come home from the War of 1812.

I didn't watch horror movies with ghosts (or really any) up until about a year ago. Now I love them. One of my favorite TV shows is Paranormal Witness, which has people recount supposedly true ghost stories while showing (usually pretty decent, sometimes corny) reenactments. I binge watched the entire first season and couldn't sleep that night.

What throws me off though, is at the end of a lot of ghost stories when the priest comes and reads some stuff from the Bible which gets the spirits REALLY PISSED OFF, and then they eventually go away. I'm totally on board with the random stacking of objects, things flying off shelves, even ghosts physically harming people. But as soon as The Power of Christ Compels You is whipped out I'm over it.

Around 2009, I noticed a trend in the New York music scene that leaned towards spirituality. There was a mix of different other worldly elements and images showing up, mostly I think out of fun. Tarot card readings, Ouija boards, pentagrams, triangles, astrology. The trend grew and now your average 16 year old is wearing upside down cross earrings from Urban Outfitters.

This struck me as a little curious. I'd always thought the most punk thing to be was atheist. I couldn't help but relate looking to the stars for direction the same way as looking to the cross. I've written a couple goofy plays relating to it, and have written a third which is basically a different version of the same play, called "Cosmic Blood Orgy." It's a silly little Halloween play, but I tried harder this time to see what makes all this stuff so interesting, how some people get drawn into it with their tongue in cheek, but soon are self identifying witches. Why I can totally believe in ghosts, but as soon as anything that might ring of "something higher" is introduced I back away.

I was asking a friend of mine who's interested in this stuff about it and got some unsolicited writing advice: don't stereotype your characters. While I would hope to NEVER do that, I'm particularly wary now of offending the cosmic community. But, I'm pretty sure no one is going to take too seriously a play that offers up lube to ghosts who are trapped forever in a "sex pentagram".

This is part of a series called "Plays and Bands" I curate under the name Pony Show Presents, which aims to bridge independent theater and music communities. Youngblood's Abby Rosebrock and Willie Orbison also have some very funny and spooky short plays, along with bands JournalismThe Doubts, and Sic Tic. Hope to see you there.

Plays and Bands #7 - Halloween Edition
The Silent Barn
603 Bushwick Ave
Brooklyn, NY
JMZ to Myrtle/Broadway, L to Morgan
$5, 8:00 doors, first play at 8:30