Preview – Dunwich Horror – Ororo Productions at the London Horror Festival

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While poking around looking for fun theater stuff to do this Halloween, I was very excited to discover that there was going to be a production of a play based on a story by HP Lovecraft. Ooh! Shades of Open Circle Theater’s “HP Lovecraft Theater of Horrors,” one of a regular season of Halloween time eldritch/Cthonic shows! How could we Londoners be so lucky as to have our own All Souls’ spookiness? I tracked down David Dawkins of Ororo Productions and asked him for some answers in person.
Dunwich Horror Armatige
As I knew, Lovecraft never wrote any plays, and Dawkins has adapted this story himself. (It was also done as a radio play in 1945 but this version is not beholden to it.) It was originally done as a one-man show, but now has a cast of nine. Dawkins saw this story as ideal for the stage, as it’s more about “atmosphere and use of language” rather than buckets of blood. “It’s not about an immediate physical threat. The impact comes later. People shouldn’t be scared during the show but should be uncomfortable when they walk out. ” For him, the challenges of adapting it were actually “how you keep from turning it into a talk fest.” His approach was to look at it from a more Brechtian and Commedia dell’arte perspective – to focus on the relationships and movement and to “keep the humor intact.”

Dunwich Horror WizardNow, I’m a Lovecraft fan due to an obsession with tentacled gods, but what is it that sparks Dawkins’ interest in him? “Lovecraft had an a-religious mythos. He looked at science, positing other dimensions, vast univeres, creatures millions of years old. Before him the belief was that the world was very young. But he posited a future before mankind, a reality and a life we couldn’t understand. People were not ready for it at the time.” But these days, alternate universes that exist alongside us are commonplace in science fiction – in Gaiman’s Neverwhere, in Stross’ “Laundry Series” (which are extremely indebted to Lovecraft), and of course in Mieville’s recent Kraken. Our terror is no longer damnation; it’s losing our sanity. And this is the fear that lurks beneath Lovecraft’s writing for me – a terror that we may face any day. I can’t wait to see it from the safety of a seat in the audience.

(“The Dunwich Horror” is running from October 25th to November 6th as a part of the London Horror Festival. All shows will be at 9:30 PM.)

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One Response to “Preview – Dunwich Horror – Ororo Productions at the London Horror Festival”

  1. Preview – Third Annual London Horror Festival – Etcetera Theatre (through October 31st) | Life in the Cheap Seats - Webcowgirl's London theatre reviews Says:

    […] I went to a few shows the first year – for me, Halloween is the perfect time for scary theater. How big is the festival this year? […]

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