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?

dreamspeak

ok, so i've been lax about posting here. i apologise. there are reasons. i don't know if they'ree good reasons, but they include:


i've had a lot of work to do, which is nice because i'm a freelancer and things tend to slow down in the summer, so the more work i get now, the less i have to worry about later [in theory].i started watching the handmaid's tale. i was a little hesitant because i didn't actually like the novel very much; i found it heavy-handed and predictable. the series relies on the novel for about 80% of its first season plot but i nevertheless find it spellbinding. where i felt that the novel beat readers with its politics, the series does a better job of connecting with the humanity in the midst of politics. i'm dithering on starting season two because i am a serial binger and once i know damn well that starting the second season will soon consign me to the horrors of having to wait a week between episodes. i don't know if i can han…

i agree, smedley [or, smokers totally saved our planet in 1983]

so this conversation happened [via text, so i have evidence and possibly so does the canadian government and the nsa].

dom and i were trying to settle our mutual nerves about tomorrow night's conversion screening, remembering that we've made a fine little film that people should see. which is just about exactly what dom had said when i responded thusly:

me :: i agree smedley. [pauses for a moment] did you get that here?

dom :: no?

me :: the aliens who were looking at earth and then decided it wasn't worth bothering with because people smoked even though it was bad for them?
come to think of it, that might mean that smokers prevented an alien invasion in the seventies.

dom :: what ?!?!?

me :: i've had wine and very little food. [pause] but the alien thing was real. [pause.] well, real on tv.

dom :: please eat something.

of course, i was wrong. the ad in question ran in 1983. this is the part where i would triumphantly embed the ad from youtube, except that the governmen…

mental health mondays :: separate and not equal

given the ubiquitousness of racial disparities in the united states, there's no reason why we should be surprised that they exist in mental health care. unlike a lot of other areas, the people in power have acknowledged the problem for decades. but the situation isn't getting any better. 
the united states surgeon general documented the differences between white and non-white mental health care back in 2001 so we can assume that it was already a known problem at that point. two years later, a presidential commission said the same damn thing and groups like the national association for mental health seized on this to develop guidelines on how to bridge the ethnic gap. from the turn of the century through 2007, the number of papers and publications talking about the mental health care gap spiked. the issue was viewed as being on par with obesity when it came to urgent problems.

starting in 2004, researchers undertook a massive project that involved the records of nearly a quart…