'It Came From Theatre Three' is a must-see celebration of classic horror themes
By Cristee Cook
Theatre Three’s virtual production, It Came From Theatre Three celebrates Halloween with four short plays, each commissioned by a local playwright. Conceived and Directed by Artistic Director Jeffrey Schmidt and Associate Artistic Director Christie Vela, It Came From Theatre Three is also hosted by the pair in the style of a late-night horror anthology. The production is funny, surprising, and creative. Each piece offers a different flavor of horror tradition: psychological suspense, fantasy, gore, and reanimation - each with a unique expression of the common themes.
Nicole Neeley’s The Loss of Jane is a psychological piece that takes us to the outer edges of a woman’s mind. Filmed in a classic Noir style, the creative cinematography gave us a glimpse of live theatre by showing the outer edges of the set as it worked inward to reveal the story. Francine Gonzalez’s portrayal of a woman losing her grip on self-worth is spot on. The themes in this short play are timely and relatable in our ever-maddening gaslit nation – and what is scarier than that?
Bloody Mary by Jonathan Norton takes after the classic slasher film, complete with gore and cool battles. The vibrant graphic design of this play enlivened this ghost story, and the ensemble cast is delightful. Lydia Mackay plays a Roman Amazon Goddess on a mission to destroy, and her detached attitude is empowering. I laughed, I gasped, and I covered my eyes. Bloody Mary is surprising, funny, and shines with Norton’s gift for dialogue.
For the fantasy category, The Old Woman in the Wood (Adapted by Jeffrey Schmidt in collaboration with The Drama Club) is an adaptation of Grimm’s Fairy Tales The Juniper Tree and The Old Woman in the Wood. This short play delights the senses with it’s found-object collage design, which slowly unravels from 2D to 3D as we journey through a forest of contemporary ephemera. A dark fairy tale, this piece stands out due to its ability to make a filmed play feel like a real-live world.
Doctor Diablo by Blake Hackler is a spooky balm for reality in 2020. This short play is the story of a woman named Marla, played with delicious and infuriating accuracy by Lydia Mackay. Hackler has created a story that elevates the “Chucky doll" theme. Marla is on a mission to get the #1 Christmas toy, and we soon learn that Marla is a "Karen.” Eek! If you’ve ever wanted to call out an entitled or greedy citizen, fantasized about revenge against an anti-masker, or angrily clicked ‘unfriend’ on social media, this short play will make you laugh with recognition, and you might even feel vindicated. This play is scary if you’re in Marla’s shoes, but I found it deeply satisfying.
It Came From Theatre Three is a must-see virtual event to add to your Halloween celebration. The team developed an inventive and rich offering for audiences, solidifying Theatre Three’s innovative approach to theatre during a pandemic. The playwrights advanced well-loved horror themes with their pertinent connections to the scary times in which we are living.
It Came From Theatre Three continues through November 1, 2020. For tickets and showtimes, visit www.Theatre3Dallas.com. Theatre Three will host a talkback on Facebook before the performance on October 31. Tune into the live discussion: www.facebook.com/theatre3dallas.