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Real Horrorshow! 

Wednesday, Sep 22 2010
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Gore and violence on the big screen might scare the hell out of you, but you always have an “out.” When the bad guy saws horny teenagers into bits or someone’s head explodes, you can remind yourself that it’s all just special effects and makeup. You know that the alleged victims are somewhere in Hollywood right now looking for their next roles and not, in fact, scattered about that little remote cabin in North Dakota. But seeing it on the stage, in a small theater, is something wholly different. In Kiss of Blood, one of three one-act plays being performed by Thrillpeddlers, it’s 1929, and brain surgery is in its infancy. It’s seen as a potential cure for madness. (Can you see where this is going?) As the curtain rises, the audience is witness to an operating room and a brain procedure gone terribly wrong. Here, your mental escape hatch is blocked. Sure, you can tell yourself it’s a combination of makeup and props and acting and gallons of fake blood – but it’s all right there. The screams are real. Same goes for the scalpels and knives and clamps and power drills and oh my God what if some lunatic joined this theater company just to do something awful like this and what if we’re all next? OK OK. Calm down. It is just a play. It was first performed by Le Theatre du Grand Guignol in Paris. The company earned the reputation for its gore and violence, and Kiss of Blood certainly hit that mark. The others in this year’s Shocktoberfest series are originals: Lips of the Damned (set inside a French museum of torture devices) and The Empress of Colma (whose main character is a dental assistant with access to prescription drugs – ‘nuff said). During intermission, you can participate in a demonstration of a replica of a guillotine from the 18th century. But if you go, note where the exits are – and make sure the path is clear. (Previews are Sept. 30 and Oct. 1, and opening night is Oct. 7.)
Thursdays, Fridays; Sat., Oct. 30; Sun., Oct. 31. Starts: Sept. 30. Continues through Nov. 19, 2010

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Keith Bowers

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