Making its premiere at The Fantasia Film Festival, PLAY DEAD is the on screen rendition of the off-Broadway stage show presented in the grand ol’ tradition of Grand Guignol. For those of you who are in the dark here, I’m referring to the use of tons of blood and gore, along with some crafty bravado up on that magical theater stage. The film here was co-written by that silent magician Teller (from Penn & Teller) and it stars Coney Island master of ceremonies, Todd Robbins. Conveniently dressed in all white, the blood flies freely in this filmed version of the show which was shot in front of a live Manhattan audience.
“Teller and Todd Robbins invite Death out to play in PLAY DEAD, a new spirit-shaking Off-Broadway show inspired by “Midnight Spook Shows,” an American institution from the 1930s to the 1970s. As the guide for the evening, Robbins draws audiences into an unknown haunted world full of frightful surprises and diabolical laughter. Although very much a theatrical work, it is hardly a typical “play,” but rather a dramatic, unnerving thriller – here and now in an “abandoned” theater, illuminated by a single ghostlight – in which audiences test their nerves and face their fears as they are surrounded by ethereal sights, sounds and even touches of the returning dead – all achieved by wry, suspenseful storytelling and uncanny stage illusions.”
This live show has been enjoying a rather successful run since 2010 and makes me wish I could get out to New York to experience it first hand!