Well, it’s about time for this year’s In the House Festival co-production with Myriam Steinberg and Chris Murdoch, the House of Forsaken Gods (2012). So what better way to anticipate the next show than to recap what they had in store for us last year!
But what are you waiting for? Book right now for this year’s Halloween-time show which has a Greek Mythology theme to it. Imagine the Zeus’ Thunderbolts and lightning, very, very frightening. What does it mean to be a Forsaken God? So ominous and mysterious. I do know that it will be an experience you won’t soon forget. I’ve booked my tickets for Saturday night and I can’t wait.
One can’t really experience this and take photos, but fortunately, Diane Smithers was able to take some fabulous shots which can be found on her Facebook photo albums page
The House of Faerie Bad Things (2011) recap
Note: Since the run is sold out and over, I feel that I am not spoiling anything for anyone who has not seen the show, as they have not repeated acts, as of yet.
This is the third year in a row that In the House Festival (Myriam Steinberg along with Chris Murdoch) has been putting on this amazing production. So how do they top themselves? I’m not sure, but I’m willing to let myself fall into the world of faeries. There are some clues in the performers, but even that in the end didn’t help much.
This year I made a much bigger push to get more friends to attend. I was not successful in getting an entire time slot sold out but we were the majority of the fifteen.
So we started at Rocanini Coffee Roasters. A nice simple setup which was to be our holding pen until they were ready to move us over to the official site. Much nicer than the garage space used last year, but I miss the more oddball treats of the previous two years. However, this year’s was much more fitting the theme of faeries, such that I hadn’t even noticed the treats kind of blended into the ambiance of the space. We were all having a great time and then it was our turn. Follow the woodland faerie with big hand on a stick and we did.
We headed west along 5th Avenue towards our destination. Along the way we narrowly missed one of the previous groups being lead back. No completely terrified faces, so I think we were safe. Anyways, we continued on to a yellow house beside The Beaumont Studios. Our woodland faerie guide, said this was as far as she would take us and “someone” would have to knock on the door. I kindly sacri.. offered up my friend to do so and off he went.
Ahh… Christopher Murdoch, was to be our host and guide. I take it that he did not take to fondly to my comment of my not being able to locate him in last year’s show and put himself front and centre this year, so that I absolutely wouldn’t miss him. His masterful storytelling skills were certainly going to make this night an interesting one and it would begin here, as he told us about entering the world of the faeries.
He asked if we had read the pamphlet that was given to us earlier on in the evening. Sheepishly, I admitted that I had not, as did a few others. No matter, he would quickly summarize as to what we were to do if we were to encounter bad “fae”. Throw salt at it, answer back in rhymes would all diminish their powers. Never let them see fear. Never tell them your real name. Some of us were given talismans, hopefully to protect us, should we need it.
Now we were to enter the house and we were quickly ushered past the living room with a young boy watching cartoons on the television. He had turned the upper half of his body to see who was interrupting his entertainment. While most scooted by, a few keen eyes happened to notice that he had been gnawing on a few human fingers.
We entered an almost completely dark room which had a staircase that lead downstairs. Be quiet, stay together. Immediately we came across a faerie named Mimsy who had his head stuck in a pot. There was a huge pile of sheets and blankets behind us, enough for some people to be hiding underneath. So with one eye looking back and one eye looking forward, our guide, began to interact with Mimsy, who got increasingly infuriated with us. Chris using his mad rhyming skills to some avail, but with a meat cleaver in Mimsy’s hand, only a bowl of porridge would abate him. Fortunately, one of the talisman’s was a bowl. We could only hope that there was porridge in it. And yes, there was.
We were ushered into another smaller room and told that all of us were to get on the bed. We almost all fit. In there a water faerie, all balled up, awaiting us next to a bathtub filled with petals. She began to look at us while reciting some prose, as the lights went out (intentionally). An audio cacophony of sound accompanied her tale with lightning flashes going off. Then the lights came on and she said that she was ready to play. She invited one of us to come up and a young lady responded to her by going closer. And the water faerie immediately grabbed her and drowned her. Really…. this happened. Our guide non-chalantly told us it was… time to move on.
Heading past the piles of blankets and Mimsy the angry house elf, we were told to take a grasp of the person in front of us, as it was going to get tight and narrow. We were ushered out the back door and into a long and narrow vine covered passage way between the two buildings. We emerged at the front of the house where the shrubbery had now been lit up with white lights.
Chris now lead us to the door of the Beaumont Studios. He held in his hand the key to this mystical land. Upon entering we were whisked past a room of curiosities and past a wailing will’o’wisp, pay no attention to her. Was there something between Chris and this will’o’wisp? It would seem so but we were not to find out now.
We were lead into what is usually the main lobby but now had more of a woodland grove feel to it. A small studio was the Anti-Faerie Press which contained many Lady Cottingwood-style pictures or they could have just been discarded Rorschach tests. A sepia toned video was shown of the Anti-Faerie press and how they get the ink for their publications. Another more intense audio soundscape was presented.
Back into the main lobby, a few of us were encouraged to take seats while he used one of his crystal balls solo which seemed to float amongst his fingers. Almost appearing to move on it’s own. Then we were to proceed upstairs, hoping that we wouldn’t lose any more of our group.
As we emerged from the darkness onto the second floor, I could see that they had transformed the studios, much like they had done the houses, in years previous. The centre studio had a beautiful faerie in the middle, but pay no attention to her, move right along. We entered another studio which had a faerie in a cage amongst, a lush greenery backdrop. An incredible amount of detail in this scene. A beautiful faeries voice sung to us her song. And then once again… moving on.
A little down the way, we were stopped at a gnome’s home. Having heard of the story of why the gnome’s hat was the colour red, we were a little cautious to be standing in front of the glass looking in at the studio. And then he appeared, the little gnome, barely two feet tall, doing a cooking show for us. Unfortunately for us, he needed one more ingredient. Fortunately, for us, there was a force field (the glass) which prevented us from being gobbled up by us. Almost felt sorry for the little fellow, going hungry, but he quickly brought out his leftovers of a little baby he had recently caught.
The next scene almost beckoned me immediately. The call of the siren song. For you see, as on the outside, I had an Olympic Torchbearer-like costume on, underneath, I had a sailor suit on. Well, I doffed the jacket and was prepared to go to her, as she sang. It would have been my demise if I had, as if I recall correctly, the white sheet that lay before her was actually covering an open staircase.
We were now entering the centre studio. The lighting effects were such that it appeared we were underwater. And perhaps we were. Through the glass, the beauties of Luciterra swam past us one by one. This was something rather new for me to see of them and done to great effect, as if we were in the fishbowl being watched.
As we exited, another scene unfolded right before our eyes. It was a sleeping beauty in a casket, the image quite tranquil. Our guide, held in hand a rose that lit up blue, which he passed through the glass to the momentarily awakened beauty. But no more time for that on to the next scene.
Well, in my description, I had said that this is unlike Fright Night type haunted houses. Well, in this one instance, I was wrong. As we walked down the hall towards the staircase, an ogre came out at us, hastening our exit off the second story down to the main floor again.
Now we would enter the room of curiosities that we had passed earlier on in the show. Our guide would need to prepare us for what lay ahead. Another talisman on a necklace was given one of our group. Some of us were dusted on the forehead with a powder. We practiced “the incantation against glamour.” with Chris providing us an easier to remember last line. I guess, he felt we were ready as we were moving on, back to the Will’o’wisp again. More interaction with her before we were lead to the door of the Unseelie Court, and then to the real door.
We could hear the unsettling “laughter” for whatever lay in store for us behind this door, but went through it we did. We entered and immediately to our left were dark faeries, as were there many more to the right upon a shelf seemingly awaiting our entry. Ahead of us on a riser were the court assembled, the faerie king and the green queen, the tooth fairy with her pliers, the hula hooping jester and many others. And in a large cage to the left was another faerie ready to play music.
It became evident that our guide had brought us here by faerie king, for his wicked entertainment. They began encircling us, moving in between us and in some cases dancing with us. And then the proscenium parted and a way out was revealed.
It is here that the last chapter unfolded. The great white faerie under tarped tents in the parking lot, but again, wind and acoustics playing a big role here, as many of thought a real storm was brewing. Once she had finished her number and we left her presence, our guide walked us to the front of the Beaumont to tell us our time with the faeries was over and sent us on our merry way, lucky to have been one of 360 people who got to experience this show.
The production values were a tremendous leap forward this year. It’s difficult to compare the different shows and perhaps it’s best if I didn’t. I do however, look forward to next Halloween and to see what it has in store. However, I peeked ahead and Halloween is on a Wednesday, which logistically may be the worst day for it to fall on. Whatever Myriam and Chris decide though, I intend to be there to take it all in.
Enough already! Go ahead and book your tickets before it sells out, like it does every year. The House of Forsaken Gods