Skip to main content

the gorey end


is there anyone who doesn't love edward gorey's creepy victorian illustrated nursery tales? he seems to appeal to the inner child and halloween fan in everyone, but most of all to those of us who have a slightly morbid bent anyway. who else could laugh at a series of couplets detailing the horrific demise of twenty-six overly curious, neglected or just plain cursed children, each in their own unlikely way?

apparently, the creative types at the thistle project, since they are currently presenting gorey story, a play based on the master's best-known work, the gashlycrumb tinies.

this is not the first time that someone has adapted gorey's work for the stage. in fact, there is something naturally theatrical about his stories and images. but the whole idea of being entertained by the deaths of small children is not going to be everyone's cup of perfectly steeped tea. to hell with those people.

the show is adorable. while a little heavy on the music for my tastes (not generally a fan of "show tunes"), it keeps the atmosphere balanced between the macabre and the absurd. much of the credit for this goes to the sound, a combination of recordings and the actor's voices, which is used to a striking and often hypnotic effect. each line is given with perfect cadence and diction, every breath seems weighted with significance. in the background are voices, strains of music, and bursts of those eerie, unidentifiable sounds that probably kept you awake as a child.

"gorey story" is not a play, so much as a piece of theatre, incorporating various theatrical forms- speaking, singing, dancing- to great effect. the actors are able to generate a remarkable amount of tension with the carefully choreographed motion of their bodies. this is especially true of "death", folding and unfolding in exquisite slow motion, towering above the others (the latter point thanks to a remarkable set of platforms). at times, it seems like what you are watching is a sort of human puppet show- intricate and controlled.

at just over an hour, only the most hyperactive child is going to have their attention wander during the performance. of course, it doesn't take long to figure out what's about to happen (particularly if, like me, you have a great deal of the original committed to memory), but the troupe still manages, of all things, to come up with a surprise ending.

gorey story plays throughout november at the artists play studio theatre. (a word to the wise: the theatre is normally used for dance performances and they are understandably protective of their floor. as a result, you will be asked to remove and check your shoes in the foyer. this is not the place for your 20-hole rangers.)

Comments

~WhitE-RaveN~ said…
Quote:
[...] the whole idea of being entertained by the deaths of small children is not going to be everyone's cup of perfectly steeped tea. to hell with those people.


Gorey Story sounds fun. I'd check it out if November's end weren't so fast approaching. If you enjoyed Gorey Story, you would (have) love(d) Shockheaded Peter--a show based on a concept album by The Tiger Lillies. You can still check out their music, but the show finished its run in New York last May. No idea whether there are plans to tour at all.

as long as you're here, why not read more?

fun-raising

no, i am not dead, nor have i been lying incapacitated in a ditch somewhere. i've mostly been preparing for our imminent, epic move, which is actually not so terribly epic, because we found a place quite close to where we are now. in addition, i've been the beneficiary of an inordinately large amount of paying work, which does, sadly, take precedence over blogging, even though you know i'd always rather be with you.

indeed, with moving expenses and medical expenses looming on the horizon, more than can be accounted for even with the deepest cuts in the lipstick budget, dom and i recently did something that we've not done before: we asked for help. last week, we launched a fundraising campaign on go fund me. it can be difficult to admit that you need a helping hand, but what's been overwhelming for both of us is how quick to respond so many people we know have been once we asked. it's also shocking to see how quickly things added up.

most of all, though, the ex…

losers?

just a short time ago, i waxed prosaic about trump supporters who felt betrayed by their candidate pursuing in office the exact things that he said he would. short version: i have no sympathy.

today is a bit different. in the wake of america's bombing of a syrian air strip, in response to a chemical weapons attack by the syrian government, my facebook and twitter feeds were peppered with plaintive shades of "we believed you". these are the people who heard trump say that he wanted the united states to step back and focus on defending its own. indeed, trump did say such things, over and over; america cannot be the policeman of the world. even arch-liberal cynics like me had to admit that this was a refreshing argument to hear from someone outside the paul family, and, could easily have been turned into trump's greatest argument against hillary clinton. [he chose to go another way, which also worked.]

trump also said, repeatedly, that america needed to invest heavily …

long division

after the united states election last year, there were the usual calls for the country to unite behind the new president. that never happens anymore, because, since george w. bush scored a victory in 2004, having launched the country into a war in iraq for no reason, the people on the losing side of a presidential election have been pretty bloody angry about it. democrats hated bush 43. republicans really hated obama. democrats really hate trump.

it didn't help that trump didn't make the typical conciliatory gestures like including a couple of members of the opposite party in his cabinet, or encouraging his party to proceed slowly with contentious legislation. barack obama arguably wasted at least two and as many as six years of his tenure as president trying to play peacemaker before he felt sufficiently safe to just say "screw you guys" and start governing around the ridiculous congress he was forced to deal with. not-giving-a-shit obama was the best president in …