The Bone House is Terrifyingly Immersive Theatre
We can’t tell you much, but we can tell you the audience at Apparition Theatre’s production becomes part of the show and it is scary
The less you know about Apparition Theatre’s production of Edmonton playwright Marty Chan’s The Bone House, the better.
The Bone House is immersive, experiential theatre and it’s scary. Not scary like a horror movie, where, as a passive audience member, you can distract yourself with your tub of popcorn. It’s scary like a haunted house, where, although the exits are clearly illuminated, the primitive part of your brain just knows there’s something behind you.
Here’s what you can know: Audiences are invited to a lecture by self-proclaimed mind hunter Eugene Crowley. Crowley explores our culture’s fascination with serial killers. Why, for example, do we know all of their names but none of the names of the victims or the people who caught them? Crowley lectures on Ted Bundy, John Wayne Gracy and The Midnight Cowboy, a killer who is still on the loose and Crowley is obsessed with. Audiences are offered the opportunity to leave at three separate times if it things get a little to real.
Intrigued? Director Simon Mallett was intrigued and more than a little freaked out the first time he read the play. Mallett is also the artistic director of Downstage and was considering The Bone House for his season. He had the opportunity to see a live production of the show on a trip to Edmonton thinking that he’d already read it and knew what to expect so he couldn’t possibly be scared. He was.
“I was pretty terrified,” he says. “This show is quite unsettling in a really good way even when you know exactly what’s coming.” The play wasn’t the right fit for Downstage so Mallett put a call out for collaborators and the artistic collective Apparition Theatre was born. The company that came together for this specific show includes actors Justine Michael Carriere, Mark Ikeda and Brianna Johnston, stage manager Olivia Brooks and associate director Mike Griffin, who (hint) has a lot of experience with stage blood.
Mallett stresses that The Bone House is terrifying but perfectly safe. “Even when you tell yourself, ‘it’s okay, that’s just an actor,’ there’s a part of our psyche that opens the door to fear and lets it in and that can be a really a fun experience when it’s ultimately a safe one to have.” Mallett says. “There’s a reason we’re doing it at Hallwoween.”
The Bone House runs Oct. 22 to 26 and Oct. 28 to Nov. 1 at Motel, at the Epcor Centre. Call 403-461-1995 or visit bonehouse.ca to reserve tickets. From $20.