A howling good time

The Kraine Theatre
85 East 4th Street, New York, NY
On Thursday, October 29, 2015


The performance of the evening was “Scream Queens and Crazed Friends” by Mohammed Saad Ali, Gina Femia, Michael Hagins, Rachel Music, Michael C. O’Day, Maximillian Gill, Ramona Pula, Christopher Sirota, Eric C. Webb; directed by Michael Calciano, Kiebpoli Calnek, David Charles, Adriana Colon, Onyi Okoli, Andrew Rothkin, Melissa Skirboll, Samantha Elizabeth Turlington; and players JJ Bozeman, Eric Dexter Brown, Michael Calciano, Joe Conway, Ashlee Danielle, Dionna Eshleman, Kate Fallon, Amanda Garcia, Wesley Goodrich, London Griffith, Emily Hecht, Gladys Hendricks, Jesse Rose Krebs, Charlie Leeder, Dakota Lustick, Nitin Madan, Sue Ellen Mandell, Steven Martin, Saka Minisquero, Rachel Music, Shaun S. Orbin, Samantha Randolph, Stephanie Schwartz, Jazmin Williams, and Janelle Zapata.

The stage setting with the props and live music complement the two acts with individual scenes within each act. The performance begins with the five original actors on stage and the live band playing appropriate music. The actors give the audience a preview of the upcoming scene in August, 1973, outside the Antlers Hotel in Kingsland, Texas. The transformation of the set reminds the audience of the title, In the Name of the Camera; and three actors accomplish the task of reenacting to the moment in time.

The actors introduce the next scene and they give their preview of what’s to come as a teaser to the audience, and the audience hears trumpets sounding over Harrisburg, Pennsylvania on March 30, 1979. The sound of the trumpets creates panic in the community. Two ladies convey the message of the scene, and one of them gets her throat cut before the culmination of the segment.

In the Stalker Nun scene, the audience gets a good laugh at the priest’s and the nun’s dialogues in hell. It’s a midnight in 1970 in the Sacred Heart Graveyard. The nun confronts the priest for his immoral behavior when he was alive, and she is hell bent on revenge, giving him a beat down, for turning out some teen-age girls into sexual undertakings with prominent men in the community. The priest claims the girls corrupted him. The nun continues to beat the priest!

The other two scenes in Act I portray two different years in the 1970s, a summer in 1976, New York City with the title of, And This Is What the Devil Said; and on January 22, 1973, The French Quarter, in New Orleans interprets House of Satan Spawn. These two scenes differ in staging, but the audience enjoys every minute of the dramatization for each scene. The original actors give a summation of each scene before the other actors perform their routines that engage the audience before the intermission with their energetic performance.

After the intermission, the performance of Act II begins with a night in 1976, a Zombie Outbreak Survivor Camp. The actors give a synopsis of the scene, Bite Curious; and the actors’ performance thrill the audience with three women and one man on stage. One of the actors, an older woman, brandishes a gun in her hand. Her handling of it demonstrates to the audience a certain sense of reality in her performance. She fires the gun to prove her character’s point of view. In addition, the talk about cannibalism shocks the audience as to the taste of human flesh.

The Questioning, this scene generates laughter with the audience. The time is May of 1970, in Kent, Ohio. Two law enforcement officers investigate a college protest that ends tragically wrong, and one man is questioned. Before the scene ends, the nature of the investigation changes drastically. The witness is hostile to the line of questioning by the officers, and his vocabulary is that of a sailor on a pirate ship. Before the scene ends, the officers turn on each other.

The actors give a synopsis of the scene. It is early evening in 1974, Melissa and Amy’s college apartment in upstate New York. Tania is a segment with intrigue. The audience sees a woman as she runs into the apartment. The audience assumes that she is being chased by someone. The telephone rings. The young woman answers. Next, she calls 9-1-1. As the performance continues, the woman takes the audience on a roller-coaster ride with suspense from the ringing of the telephone and her answering. The caller asks for Tania. There is a knock at the door. Someone leaves a box outside the apartment. She opens the door cautiously and brings the box into the apartment. There are items in the box to change her appearance, and she takes out each item. The woman puts on the wig and the dress and she ponders for a moment. Someone comes to the door, and she takes a knife with her to investigate. The person becomes a victim of a stab wound.

The audience gets the usual introduction from the actors about the impending scene, “The Date” in 1978, at Michelle’s home in the suburbs. Two actors are on stage. Michelle wears a very revealing attire. Her date sits on the floor in a large plastic bag. He pleads for his life, and demented Michelle torments him mercilessly. The scene reminds the audience of the movie Misery, and it gasps for air as Michelle taunts him.

One of the most exciting scenes in Act II happens on a night in 1973, outside a small town graveyard, with the title of the Beast of Both Worlds. The actors give their synopsis of the impending act. The audience sees two young people as they contemplate about taking a shortcut, walking through a cemetery. This bad decision causes both of them harm in the end. During their walk, they encounter a blood-sucking vampire and a flesh-eating werewolf in the cemetery. The young woman sees the truth about her friend because he tries to save his own skin. Even the vampire and the werewolf negotiate between themselves about who is going to get the male or the female for food.

The original actors entertain the audience with their performance that permeates good cheer for a Halloween-oriented show. After, all of the other actors return to the stage and face the audience one last time. The audience gets its monies worth from an outstanding presentation that reminds it of the frailties of life.

There have been so many messages in the entire two acts. The audience is able to learn from some of these examples presented to it. This is a performance that I will surely recommend to theatre goers in the future because Halloween only comes around once a year.