A Glimpse into Madness
By Carrie Canfield
Last weekend, Seventy Scenes of Halloween, directed by Craig Schneider opened at PACA, 1505 State Street and stars many of the most talented actors of our City.
The play employees quintessential game-playing, a myriad of tricks and withholding information along with repeating scenes with subtle variations, breaking the rules of conventional narrative, and providing contradictory information about the characters to keep the audience in the dark about the couple at the center of this black comedy.
The 1980 play written by Jeffrey Jones’s can be seen as either a subtle exploration of contemporary relationships or an overly coy bit of crafty theatrical masturbation used to scare and amuse the audience.
In this adaptation, Director Craig Schneider has chosen to focus on the disintegration of lead character’s Jeff and Joan’s marriage. From the top of scene one, the seemingly randomly presented scenes are wonderfully performed by real life couple, Dan and Alison Tingley.
Much like a Quentin Tarantino film, the play can at will be taken to serve the needs of the adapter, as well as the particular tastes of each audience member.
Masterfully presented, the play is seen through the eyes of the two apparently average married people, and gives insight into not only their decaying marriage, but their descent into madness. “Nothing changes and everything changes and nothing changes”, a line taken from the second act, can best summarize any failing marriage. The duo delivers a power charged performance that brings life, charm and humor to the play.
With a fragmented plot that is cleverly unraveled as the audience is busy trying to piece the story together, we discover it does not matter nearly as much as it usually does.
Seventy Scenes of Halloween provides a zany cast including a beast, played by Brad Ford. Along with the always-delightful Sean Morgan who steals the stage as the charismatic ghost as he demands someone to feed him.
Ali Ford plays the ghost as the hooker ex-girlfriend of Jeff, as she works not only the stage, but the audience as a pro. Nancy Scott and Craig Schneider also add to the ghost ensemble well, as their characters add just the right flavor to the show. Teni Hodge-Slano’s performance was simply delightful in the role as one of the witches.
While Pagan prayers, knives, screams from the closet, blood, murder, and mayhem are all cunningly woven into this play, the true delicacy of the show are the sparkling performances of the cast.
As a special treat, a musical performance by one of Erie’s most talented and versatile musicians Tom Hinman opened the show.
Come for the tricks and the treats, stay for the surprises that are sure to be found.
Showing every Friday and Saturday through November 2, 2013, Seventy Scenes should be on your list of fun Halloween attractions.
For more information on this play, ticket information, and reservations, please visit https://www.facebook.com/paca1505.