Thursday, October 3, 2013

Theater: Angela Carter's "Hairy Tales" Starting This Week

Poster Angela Carter's "Hairy Tales" by Imaginary Beasts (2013)
Writer Angela Carter kidnapped the fairy tale and took it to a very dark place -- darker than even the gloomy depths of the Black Forest where the stories themselves were born. Although the characters of her tales are familiar, the stakes are much higher, the violence much bloodier and the politics far more radical. Now director Matthew Woods presents Hairy Tales, a dramatization of Carter's most terrifying takes on works of the Brothers Grimm and Charles Perrault. This adults-only show features Vampirella, a Gothicized version of "Sleeping Beauty" tinged with bloodlust, and The Company of Wolves, a harrowing adaptation where Little Red Riding Hood discovers the beast ... within. (Goldstar)

I'd buy in ticket in a heartbeat if I had any way of getting to Boston. It's almost showtime but there's still a couple of days before it debuts to get tickets.

Here's what's happening in a nutshell:

There's an adults-only theatrical presentation and exploration of Angela Carter's fairy tale short stories and radio plays (by theater company Imaginary Beasts) AND a complimentary, family-friendly presentation (by Wee Beasties) of Carter's Puss In Boots.

WHEN: October 4 - 26, 2013
Angela Carter collage tribute

If you'd like a refresher on Angela Carter and her work I recommend these two articles for starters (and then go re-read The Bloody Chamber & Other Stories at the very least):

 - Marina Warner on Why Angela Carter's Bloody Chamber Still Bites (an edited extract of Marina Warner’s introduction to the Folio Society edition of Angela Carter’s The Bloody Chamber and other Stories)
"Carter’s fairy-tale heroines reclaim the night."

 - Femme Fatale (from The Guardian Angela Carter's subversive take on traditional fairy stories in The Bloody Chamber is as shocking today as when the collection first appeared in 1979)
"The Bloody Chamber is often wrongly described as a group of traditional fairy tales given a subversive feminist twist. In fact, these are new stories, not re-tellings. As Angela Carter made clear, "My intention was not to do 'versions' or, as the American edition of the book said, horribly, 'adult' fairy tales, but to extract the latent content from the traditional stories and to use it as the beginnings of new stories."

I'm pasting most of the blurb from the Hairy Tales Facebook Event Page below so you have all the info ASAP and am putting some of it in bold to help you get the gist of this awesome sounding piece of theater:
 "...the grey beasts howled among
the rows of winter cabbage as she
freely gave him the kiss she owned
him." by Fay Huo

Now is the time the wild beasts come out, now is the savage time of year… Shut the shutters! Bar the door! Throw more logs on the fire! Make a great blaze! Keep the wolves outside!
And come. Be cozy by the fire as we spin for you twisted tales of terror inspired by the vivid imagination of Angela Carter. “Sleeping Beauty” becomes a Gothic tale of blood lust in Vampirella, and in The Company of Wolves, Little Red Riding Hood discovers the beast within.  
This double-bill re-imagines fairy stories of yore, challenging your perceptions. 

Considered one of the most influential British writers of the post-WWII era, Angela Carter was prolific and adventurous in her art. One of her favorite forms was the radio play. The Beasts will offer audiences the experience of "hearing" a radio play while witnessing strange, dream-like live performances. 

Artistic Director Matthew Woods helms the production as auteur/director. The production will feature original music by composer Sam Beebe and the dark and whimsical designs of IRNE award winner Cotton Talbot-Minkin. 
Laura Kerridge
To complement this adults-only exploration, Wee Beasties, an off-shoot of Imaginary Beasts geared towards audiences of all ages, will offer family-friendly matinees of Carter’s comic romp, Puss In Boots, directed by company member and fringe favorite Michael Underhill.

Imaginary Beasts is part of the Emerging Theatre Company program at the Boston Center for the Arts.
WHEN: October 4 - 26, 2013

Thursdays at 7:30 pm, Fridays & Saturdays at 8:00 pm

There will be a special Wednesday performance on October 23, at 7:30 pm. 

There will be two special Pay What You Can nights on the 2nd and 3rd Thursdays during the run, available in person at the box office only.

Written by: Angela Carter
Directed by: Matthew W. Woods
(Note: more cast and crew listed on the event page)  
About imaginary beasts:

imaginary beasts... an incubator for adventurous theatre making.

We provide our members a unique chance to explore and develop theatre in an ongoing studio environment.

Devoted to pushing the boundaries of how theatre is made and who can make it, we bring together traditional and non-traditional performance artists to produce work for an eclectic public.

Elizabeth Moriarty
A little more information about the show from BroadwayWorld:
"Vampirella," a sparkling and startling reimagining of Sleeping Beauty, introduces us to a virginal Hero who is making a trip through the Carpathians. Along the way he is taken into the home of the Lady Nosferatu, whose ancestors haunt the castle as she struggles with her desire for love and her desire to drain the Hero. In "The Company of Wolves," old Granny tells horrifying stories of werewolves meant to caution her granddaughter against wicked men. However, the stories only fuel her imagination and desires, leading to an inevitable encounter with the Wolf. In Puss in Boots, everyone's favorite feline trickster helps his master find love in the most unlikely of scenarios.
Why do we not see more Carter-inspired presentations?

I've seen a few nods to her work via illustrations and paintings in galleries but rarely any performance art and nothing really in film beyond A Company Of Wolves in 1984 (can you believe that was nearly 30 years ago??). Too visceral, perhaps? I don't know. It would definitely need a smart and sensitive director with a delicate touch  - whether for theater or film - to balance all the necessary elements but Hairy Tales sounds like a very exciting project to be involved with. I really wish I could see it. 

I do hope there are some write-ups, reviews and possibly some photos from the show afterward. I'll keep my eyes peeled.

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