Cast & Crew
Ensemble: Robert Arnold
Ensemble: Marques Brown
Ensemble: Kell Christie
Ensemble: Tim Greer
Ensemble: Rebecca Greer
Ensemble: Michael Towle
Ensemble: Justin Willingham
Musician: Cheri Hughes
Sound Effects: Michael Towle
Sound Effects: Tim Greer
Sound Effects: Eric Sefton
Producer: Eric Sefton
Writer – Silent Retreat: Kell Christie
Writer – Hypnosis: Robert Arnold
Adaptation – The Damned Thing: Robert Arnold
Director: Robert Arnold
Director – Silent Retreat: Kell Christie
Artist: Kenneth Shofela Coker
How long does it take to create a tradition?/p>
This is only the second year in a row that Chatterbox has performed a live, two-hour Halloween Show on 91.1 WKNO FM in Memphis, but already it feels like an indispensable part of the season. There’s just something supremely thrilling about these shows. For one thing, they’re live. Rehearsals are paramount; time is of the essence; nothing can be fixed in post. For another, they’re horror stories, which offer the greatest number of imaginative possibilities in a medium that’s practically built on imagination. Plus they’re just fun to put together. Who wouldn’t enjoy twisting and goring a whole bunch of leafy vegetables in order to find the sound of a head being split open?
On top of these inherent delights, Chatterbox’s Halloween Shows afford us the opportunity to work with the good people at WKNO, who are fast becoming some of our most important collaborators. Again this year, Charlene, Justin, Darel, and Kacky could not have more supportive, whether tirelessly talking up the show (during their own pledge drive, no less), finding us better and better rehearsal spaces, walking us through the maze of locked doors in their beautiful new facility, or even performing in the show itself. (Where Justin found the energy, I’ll never know.)
So I tip my hat to them, as well as to the multi-talented cast, who managed to give me chills each and every night. Our imaginative (and deeply twisted) writers also deserve credit for holding their own with the likes of Ambrose Bierce and Wyllis Cooper. Cheri’s music warrants praise for making these seven stories cohere while allowing each to maintain its own identity. Michael and Tim’s sound effects work is some of the most complex (and effective) we’ve ever attempted; I can’t tell you how many different — and weird — items those two brought to rehearsals, experimenting until they got the exact sound they wanted. Eric pulled all of these elements together seamlessly into a beautifully realized production, and also built our amazing computer-based effects and cued them in real time throughout the show. And Kenneth Shofela Coker’s magnificent, visceral artwork may be even more frightening than the stories themselves.
Speaking of the stories themselves: Listen to them in the dark, or in a very dim room, when no one else is around. Savor the tingling feeling in your shoulders, the shallowing of your breath. Let your imagination be hypnotized, and let it wander off into places it’s never been before. In other words, go into this one willing to be scared, and I promise, you will be.
A rehearsal of the climactic scene in “The Damned Thing.”
Video by Karen Strachan.