SHIVERS: A PLAY FOR CHILDREN
I love Horror. I’m a genre junkie. As a playwright, director, and producer (Hey, if I don’t toot my own horn a little, I can’t just assume somebody else will do it for me) I’m trying to keep the glorious tradition of the Grand Guignol alive. I specialize in Horror, True Crime, and Mysteries. I like to think of myself as a localized Hitchcock, a Master of Suspense of the Stage. While this is my specialty, though, my area of expertise, my “lick,” I don’t want to become self-typecast. I want to show that I’m versatile. As such, I have done wholesome family entertainment, musicals, comedies. A few years ago, I set myself a new challenge: to see if I could write a children’s play. The result was a little production I titled SHIVERS, which just finished its second run this past weekend, playing to small venue-d but sold-out audiences and rave reviews from attendees. It went over so well, in fact, that other theatrical companies have contacted me about purchasing performance rights for themselves, which is ultimately the name of the game in the theatre business.
SHIVERS is based on one of the lesser-known fairytales from the Brothers Grimm, “The Little Boy Who Left Home To Learn How To Be Afraid.” I took the story as a template and then put my own unique spin on it. If I was gonna do a kids’ play, it was gonna have to be MY kind of kids’ play. Thus SHIVERS featured vampires, an executed criminal returned to life, anthropomorphic and carnivorous cats, ghosts, ghouls, and a whole pack of pint-sized werewolves. How’d I keep it from being too scary for the little ones? By leaning on the comedy instead of the Horror. Still, I wanted it to be a LITTLE scary. The moral of the play, after all, was to teach kids how to face scary stuff. Maurice Sendek, my favorite children’s author, said that children’s literature SHOULD be scary, and I agree wholeheartedly. If we don’t teach children how to process fear in a safe way while they’re young, they’ll grow into adults in every way unprepared for the horrors of the real world.
Since every kid who came to see the show told me how much he/she enjoyed it, I figure I didn’t inspire any nightmares.
Well, I kinda hope I inspired one or two…