“I have a very strong affinity to the Halloween holiday,” said director Timothy Berg, who is also designing a Grand Guignol-themed float for the Oct. 27 Ghouls Gone Wild parade. “Doing Grand Guignol as a Halloween production is offering to an audience who, you know, during the month of October, you want to see a scary movie. You want to be surrounded by monsters. And let's admit it, some of the sexiest clothing that women are allowed to wear is a Halloween costume, and I've never heard anybody complain about it.”
Each “Night of the Grand Guignol” performance will include at least three 20- to 40-minute vignettes, with the yarns covering topics ranging from adultery and mental disorder to love and pain. The Friday night shows will include an extra vignette, Berg said, while the Saturday night shows will feature a burlesque number.
In addition, OKC Improv will add an interactive twist by performing preshow, intermission and post-show sets the first three Saturdays of October.
“They're doing improv based on Grand Guignol, which I think is really in the vein of Grand Guignol,” Woods said. “It took a lot of risks ... and that's one thing that we love that draws us back to doing these classics.”
The risqué and violent stories on Reduxion's “Night of Grand Guignol” slate include “Guillotine,” “The Final Kiss,” “Doing the Deed,” “Kiss of Blood” and Poe's “The System of Dr. Tarr and Mr. Feather.” The creative team has been forced to get innovative when it comes to recreating some of the stories' deadly moments live onstage in an intimate in-the-round theater.
“We want to revisit these conventions in such a way that it makes it fresh again ... but a lot of it is really one step removed from a magic trick, essentially,” Woods said. “To show how this kind of stuff would have been done with its original staging conditions, (we're) trying to use as many of the old-time contraptions, if you will, as possible.”
Let the bloody revolution begin.