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Tag: theater


Horrible Imaginings Podcast #180: Rogue Artists Ensemble Puts YOU In A Japanese Ghost Story! Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin!

Oh boy, am I a sucker for a good Japanese ghost story. There is just something about them that resonates with me. I think it is the focus on spirits that exact a cruel form of justice and vengeance. The cold callousness mixed with an almost deserved karma. It speaks to me. I first read the English re-tellings of many of these ancient folklore by an author named Lafcadio Hearn, a sort of Brothers Grimm for Japanese supernatural stories, when I was in high school, and I have been entranced ever since.

So imagine my immediate interest when I heard that this Halloween season would introduce a new immersive haunt experience based on these stories! It is a magnetic and innovative DIY production from Rogue Artists Ensemble and East West Players called Kaidan Project: Walls Grow Thin.

Reggie Yip
Photo by Rebecca Bonebrake

In it, "you receive a letter from a woman who is haunted by a mysterious event in her past—and she needs your help. When you arrive at her family’s warehouse, you ascend to the fifth and sixth floors in a creaking freight elevator, followed by a voice that calls out through the shadows, drowning you in echoes of wells and engines and graveyards, in tangles of hair and snow, in sharp reflections of your darkest moments—a voice that may not be human."

I got the chance to interview the director Sean T. Cawelti, co-writer Chelsea Sutton, and Jasmine Orpilla, one of the lead actors of this piece, after experiencing it myself. I also wanted to get another perspective on the experience, so I invited my friend Kim Garland to co-host this podcast with me. She is a brilliant filmmaker in her own right, and you can check out her stuff here. I am happy to have her with me to give her account of the performance (and to protect me from ghosts)! This will be a spoiler free look at the process of bringing this atmospheric, creepy, and classic stories to life in an immersive way that encourages audience participation. I encourage you to check it out if you are anywhere near Los Angeles!

Jasmine Orpilla
Photo by Chelsea Sutton

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June 6, 2016 Posted by admin in General

#155: Censoring Hollywood: How the Motion Picture Production Code Changed Filmmaking

Production CodeWow, another podcast episode more focused on classic film than horror! Horror can be peripherally involved, though, as the main thrust of our conversation is censorship and The Production Code that became the means for censorship in Hollywood for over three decades. I was graciously invited to join Cinema Junkie Beth Accomando at The La Jolla Playhouse's Discovery Sunday event yesterday, following a production of their fantastic new play "Hollywood."

"Hollywood" will run at The La Jolla Playhouse through June 12th, so if you listen to this early enough, you should definitely go see it! Not only is it entertaining, with some brilliant acting and some appropriately risque moments, but it is a clever look at the unsolved 1922 murder of director William Desmond Taylor through the eyes of Hollywood's censor himself--William Hays. Patrick Kerr, by the way, plays Hays almost perfectly, with gusto and the kind of charm that would have given the staunch conservative a foothold among wild 1920s Hollywood.

The Discovery Conversation, though, was less about the play and more about the historical context behind and Production Code Discussionafter the events portrayed in the play. We talk about the loose cannon state censorship boards of the 20s, the writing and adopting of The Production Code in 1930, the pre-code era, the actual enforcement of the Production Code in late 1934, and how it affected filmmaking thereafter. This is one of my favorite topics, so I was pretty enthusiastic despite the affects of losing my voice.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy listening to our discussion as much as the audience said they did yesterday! And, more importantly, go out and find some great classic films! We talk Pre-code a lot, but we also talk about Film Noir and some other subversive films. I handed out a pamphlet of recommended pre-code films at the event. Here is the PDF to get you started! Pre-Code Guide

After listening to this podcast, listen to the Cinema Junkie interview with "Hollywood" writer Joe DiPietro here: