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<  Announcements  ~  Thrillpeddlers' Welcome to the Hypnodrome

Russell Blackwood
Posted: Wed Oct 13, 2004 8:10 am Reply with quote
Moderator Joined: 18 Sep 2003 Posts: 125
Shocktoberfest!! 2004: Welcome to the Hypnodrome
575 10th Street @ Bryant, San Francisco

AOL City Guide San Francisco

There's just not enough blood-spattering, eye-gouging and throat-slashing in today's theater, apparently, and Thrillpeddlers theater company is here to change that. In 1920s Paris, gore was all the rage at the Theatre du Grand Guignol. The short plays were packed with illicit affairs, sleazy villains and bloodcurdling special effects. As tourists flocked to cringe and stare at staged tales of horror, shock theater was born. Now, thanks to Director Russell Blackwood and his penchant for the macabre, French shock theater is scaring up a storm in SOMA. The show's three plays revive 1920s Grand Guignol classics for American audiences and feature Jill Tracy, a Bay Area performance artist and singer. Blackwood has been adapting and directing shock-theater plays for more than a decade and hopes to rekindle interest in this lost art form. When you go, expect everything from retro-glam heroines to ugly brutes, spattering blood to freaky circus stunts, and screams to uproarious laughter. Think of it this way: Imagine what would happen if the Blue Man Group, Jack the Ripper and Mae West got together for afternoon tea.-- Lorraine Sanders

SF Weekly?s NIGHT AND DAY Pick of the Week

While some old-fashioned turn-ons no longer electrify -- when's the last time you were bowled over by a player piano? -- some retro pastimes have retained their charm. Take homemade ice cream. Ferris wheels. And the melodramatic live theater known as Grand Guignol. Named after the Parisian playhouse that titillated early 20th-century audiences with bawdy antics and gore, Grand Guignol-style theatrics fell from favor after World War II. But if the San Francisco troupe Thrillpeddlers has its way, Grand Guignol will soon be hot again. Starting on Oct. 7, "Welcome to the Hypnodrome" settles in for a six-week run of 90-minute evenings, each containing three short plays adapted from vintage tales. One of the pieces, Bearded Assets, is a comedy about a hirsute temptress; the other two are ripping horror yarns with Tales From the Crypt-style twists. Murder of the Will, as adapted by local noir impresario Eddie Muller, contains morphine abuse, a bullet-to-the-head suicide, and adultery with a member of the living dead, while The Beast is a retelling of The Phantom of the Opera with a batty old countess. "I get to do my wide-eyed Norma Desmond performance," laughs S.F. chanteuse Jill Tracy, whom Thrillpeddlers producer Russell Blackwood cast in both horror pieces. "It's not like other blood-and-guts Thrillpeddlers shows, where they'd do stuff like throw wet spaghetti at the audience. It's more elegant and eerie and sophisticated." And a little kinky, too -- the Hypnodrome theater has several "Shock Boxes" rigged with special effects like joy buzzers and menacing spikes, plus utter privacy for the couple within. Blackwood doesn't necessarily expect viewers to use his "trysting boxes" to get busy, as viewers did in the old Grand Guignol theater, but if they wanted to, they'd have a nearly legitimate reason: "Bringing back old thrills of all kinds," as Blackwood puts it.

Don't believe the noodles! All are welcome, except ...
"Sissies Stay Home!"

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