"Hysterical, campy fun!"
- Tony Brown, cleveland.com

"Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs!"

- Dan Shaurette, Out of the Coffin podcast

This extraordinary one-act drama deftly explores the evolution of the centuries-old vampire myth.

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The Night Kitchen, a Goth-themed coffee shop located at 8850 East 58th Street has closed for business, apparently abandoned by its proprietors.

Authorities searched the premises, which was vacated some time late Sunday night. Police were alarmed at what they found at a table near the cash register; a broken laptop computer, a scalpel, and a large pool of blood on a chair and on the floor.

The memory of the laptop had been entirely wiped. There was no sign of a struggle, and no person, living or dead, was found in the building.

Contact with the landlord has only deepened the mystery, as no documents exist stating who exactly was operating the coffee shop, which opened for business on October 1.

- The Free Times (11/4/09)

Souled Out

Houses have been good - this Saturday evening's attendance was very good. Not a seat available, I had to crouch in the tech booth and watch from there. It's exciting - a two week run, but with ten performances, I hadn't actually seen the show since last Wednesday - opening - and the difference was impressive.

On opening night, Christopher J., who has seen all three permutations of the show, said it's "so tight it squeaks." I think that's a compliment ... but I will say that while the compnay has lost none of their intensity, they weren't as manic last night as on opening. Sadie's Mary is about to explode with the excitement her newfound life, Margi's Claire continues to find new, authetic teenaged shading, Matt's timing, both comic and menacing, remains razor sharp, much has been said about Doug's damnright frightening Percy (oh yes, I said it, it's frightening) and Tim ... well. Tim has lit a candle and offered himself to the machine.

I took a number of notes last night. The plan remains to submit this show to a festival or two. One thing I miss about the original production is having audience members take setas in tables on the stage. The show seems weird when there's no one in the coffee shop but them, like no one else goes there. It looks better when John isn't the only person dressed in street clothes in the place - or when there are other Goth types there, drinking real coffee.

We should have an interesting post-mortem. Post-mortem. Heh.

Also: It's not that vampires cannot be photographer - it's that they should not be photographed. They end up looking all washed out and pasty.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Love Song from an Understudy

you leave me alone in my hovel,
scribbling away, so below your level.
to you i may be just another kid
but one day you'll see you were misled.

10 years down the line you'll see me.
10 years down the line you'll want to be near me.

now i may be your stray tag along,
your gawky shadow,
but someday, when i'm beautiful and old,
you'll say "damn i could have had her, why was i so cold?"

- Wed. 10/12 performance (Happy Yom Kippur)

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Faux Frightening? Quelle Pretentious!

Goth Sides Now: The Vampyres explores the depths of Goth culture - The Free Times
The concept of the vampire has become something of a cliché in contemporary pop goth culture. Its familiar signifiers of dress (black, of course, with spectacular platform boots), music (from Bauhaus to Nine Inch Nails) and literature (Poppy Z. Brite, for those who have graduated from Anne Rice) have been adopted by thousands of morose teenagers and committed post-teens. David Hansen’s long one-act, The Vampyres, starts with those clichés, often using them for comic relief while digging beneath them to get at something much deeper about the allure of the vampire concept and its connections with (and conflating of) sex and death ... (more)

The renown rock critic Anastasia Pantsios finds our play to be both an amusing send-up of and disturbing tribute to Goth culture, while theater reviewers for The Plain Dealer and Cleveland Scene trip over each other for vampire cliches to say how much they wish this show would go away and die.

Nine-Year Curse

In late 1996, a fifteen year-old "sad kid" auditioned for the original run of The Vampyres and practically begged us to give her the part of Claire, the fifteen-year old coffee store employee.

"I AM Claire!" she pleaded, and she was right. But to no avail. Even back then I was squeamish about having someone underage actually participate in the performance ... at least on-stage. And the show was not nearly as disturbing then as it is today.

Tonight, Wednesday, October 12, a young woman's dream will finally come true. Sarah Kunchik, our outstanding stage manager for this production will, after waiting nearly a decade, perform the role which introduced her to all of us.

The poetry had better be outstanding, truly overdone and painful. Rant to your heart's content, Sarah K. It is truly the fashion these days.

Ms. Herwald will return on Thursday.

More Verse from Last Weekend

Thurs. 10/6
Silence greets my midnight words
My art is sooooo beyond these nerds
I write with words of blinding truth
I offer rhymes of blackest proof
I cry aloud again and again
But how many hear me?
Eh... max, 10.
Why waste my breath?
Why waste my art?
This empty void reflects my heart

Sat. 10/8
From deep within my bottomless soul
Words of darkness clang and toll
Scribble, scribble
Blood of ink
Must tell them of the thoughts I think
But home is like a prison term
With those donors of the egg and sperm
"Stop your scribbling! Study math!"
My scribbling is their epitaph
My words will be like a blood bath

Sun. 10/9
Consuming trite things by the pound
That's what makes the world go 'round
Watch football games
Listen to rap
Wear baby pink socks from the Gap
You'll never see the dark inside
This midnight world from which you hide
The lamentations of the dead
Would fill your Disney heart with dread
But you cannot stay blind to the night
The truth is in the verse I write

- Claire

Monday, October 10, 2005

Infantile Blathering

Our vulnerable Claire composes and performs her own verse at every performance. Here is a sampling from last weekend's shows.

Wed. 10/5
Darkness stains my imagination
Thoughts kept apart like pagination
Spilling forth ink like it's my blood
While those squealing pigs root in the mud
Those kids at school - they're all sheep
Like life's zombies, they walk asleep
No art, no poetry, they're unawares
No cities burn within their tears
All they do is drink football beers
And get fat and pregnant by 24 years
They'll quail beneath my verse that sears

Fri. 10/7
All these people all over the 'verse
Boring and bored, their lives are a curse
Nothing touches their souls
Nothing burns in their hearts
They just watch "The O.C."
And eat chips til they fart
Every hand in the game
Every bedpost is notched
The play on their stage is torture to watch

Visit Claire's Room for her Big Box poetry.

Sunday, October 09, 2005


The weather has turned. Apparently it will turn back in a day or so, but this weekend has surely been a damp, cool, autumnal experience. Houses for the show have been good. Surprising actually, given the amount afforded to promotion. It's like every other late night experience I have ever had a hand in producing - and honestly, the turn-out on that score has been satisfying. We were a seat shy of a sell out on Friday, Saturday slightly less, and I was stunned by the number of people who came on this, a Sunday evening.

Stunned was also the look on some of the faces as they came out of the theater. I didn't mean to be hanging out in the lobby after the show, to catch people's reactions, I was there to take promotional shots. I do forget sometimes, this is a grotesque horror story, and not a happy-go-lucky sunshine festival.

We took a few new photos. I love the space we are using - the main feature of the set is this little alcove in the corner of the main hall. The main performances in the Levin (including Wallace Shawn's The Designated Mourner, now playing) are usually at the other end of the space, which was a dance hall in another century. It's like - "oh, I didn't realize that was there."

Impact Theatre presents Nicky Goes Goth
A hit at the 2004 New York Fringe Festival, Nicky Goes Goth takes us into the intoxicating but soul-sucking world of sexy socialite sisters Nicky and Paris Hilton. When Nicky begins to question the meaning of her life, her insular celebrity illusions start to shatter ... (more)

Stray Cat Theatre presents Nicky Goes Goth
If you feel you might resent Nicky and Paris Hilton, remember…they didn't ask to be born. Nicky Goes Goth asks us - WWPD? What Would Paris Do…if Nicky fell for a Goth guy? A runaway smash at last year’s NYC Fringe Festival ...(more)

Crazy. As the crowd filtered out, this tall man with a familiar face said, "Remember me?" I did - he was one of the physicians who had seen I Hate This at MetroHealth last week. I hadn't intended to pimp this show at the event (that didn't seem appropriate) but he
did come up to me after the show, and he did ask if I was doing any other theater work, and I did have a "Vampyres" card in my pocket. He says he liked the show. His wife looked like she had just swallowed a mouse.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

The Hunt Is On!

Man Sentenced For Biting Girls In 'Vampire' Case - The Indy Channel
INDIANAPOLIS -- An 18-year-old man accused of biting two teenage girls and telling them he was a vampire was sentenced Wednesday to two years of probation ... (more)

Canadian Vampire Sentenced To Prison - All Headline news
Montreal, Canada (AHN) - A self-proclaimed vampire is sentenced to 11½ years in prison, for attacking homeless people to take their blood ... (more)

Call a clue to vampire murder - The Australian
When he was murdered, Chartres-Abbott was part-way through a trial in the Victorian County Court on charges he raped and attacked a woman client after telling her he was a vampire who drank blood to survive. He was accused of severing part of the woman's tongue and biting her thigh ... (more)

Friday, October 07, 2005


Yep. There's something about this play that just pissess off a certain kind of person.

Also: check out this band at Rock & Roll Confidential

The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari: UnSilent

SynthCleveland will present the 1921 classic silent horror film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari featuring a new live improvised soundtrack on Wednesday, October 26 at 8pm, at Rain Nightclub, 4142 Lorain Avenue in Cleveland.

Directed by Robert Wiene, "Caligari" is considered to be one of the landmark examples of the German Expressionist style (i.e. "Nosferatu", "Faust", "Metropolis"). The film is enigmatic and highly stylized, with a twist ending that M. Night Shyamalan wishes he had used -- madness, love, murder and sonambulists -- all set against a carnival side-show backdrop.

This is the fifth in a series of "UnSilent" films -- old movies with an added improvised live score -- performed this time by SynthCleveland members Steven K. Smith, Thieves Like Me, tofu, dust_head and fluxmonkey.

Spinning before and after the film will be special guest DJ Feima from WCSB's "F2" show.

Rain Nightclub is located at 4142 Lorain Avenue (216-651-4100). Directions

Admission (21+) is Free.

SynthCleveland | http://www.synthcleveland.com/unsilent/

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happiness In Slavery

Thanks for the banner ad, Jeon.

And there were critics there last night, too. But then, I guess everybody is one.

As for my opinion, I really feel Ali has taken this show where it was supposed to go in the first place. It was written in anger. I felt betrayed, debased, unsure ... and guilty. I wrote a play rally, really fast about all of that. I finished the first draft in three months. That was ten years ago. I was 27.

By the time we produced it at Dobama's Night Kitchen, I had mellowed out a lot. Director Tom narrowed in on the melancholy aspects of the script, it's period. There were a lot of pop culture references, allusions to the Millennium (it took place, originally, in 1999 - now it takes place ten years after that, if that's even relevant) and maybe the word "allusion" isn't even appropriate, that implies subtlety.

It was a sorrowful play in 1997. And, uhm, a bit whiny.

Last night I was struck by the frustration of the characters of both John and Mary, locked into boxes they had put themselves in. Mary was trying to get out, and John was trying to stay in.

Speaking of which, I was reminded of the video for Happiness in Slavery by Nine Inch Nails. A man walks into a bizarre room, lights a candle, strips naked, and sits in a chair which slowly, lovingly, and systematically tears him to pieces.

I felt as though this production, finally, is the true manifestation of that idea. Despite protestations to the contrary, you feed yourself to that which will consume you.

That's One.

Olsson Bro's Garlic & Shots

We survived opening night! I was, frankly, shocked by the turnout. It's not a huge house, we have room for forty seats, but there were almost 30 people there last night - and that's on a Wednesday. What was even more stunning was how many people attended who we didn't know, opening night crowds are usually teeming with familiar faces.

The company is simply doing dynamite work. I can't say enough about Tim, his take on John is like this walking open wound, or festering sore. And the songs are much better this time around - and really, really loud.

The run seems so short, just the two weeks, but they have nine more performances to get in. It has so many places it can go before they are through.

Wednesday, October 05, 2005

The Children of the Night - Let's put on a Show!

Opening Night! Good luck, denizens of the Night Kitchen. Bask in this Hell of your own making. It should be quite a ride.

When I placed my head upon my pillow, I did not sleep, nor could I be said to think. . . . I saw - with shut eyes, but acute mental vision - I saw the pale student of unhallowed arts kneeling beside the thing he had put together.

I saw the hideous phantasm of a man stretched out, and then, on the working of some powerful engine, show signs of life, and stir with an uneasy, half-vital motion. Frightful must it be; for supremely frightful would be the effect of any human endeavor to mock the stupendous Creator of the world.
- Mary Wollestonecraft Shelley

Tuesday, October 04, 2005

All the damn vampires ...

Death Becomes Her: Goth goes from the mall to the runway - Village Voice
You may have heard the news by now: Goth is in for fall. It's so huge, in fact, that even perpetually cheery teen magazines are trying to embrace morbidity. According to Teen Vogue, "Goth style—with a romantic twist—is creeping into the mainstream, and designers didn't have to interview a vampire to fall under its spell." (more)

Talk about modern day vampyres. Do they exist? Are they just odd people? Are you one?

Vampyre Society
Check out the OVA - Ohio Vampyre Association.

Peter Murphy
Need we say more?

The Cool Report
Thanks for the plug, Steve. Steve was the coolest guy at my high school.

Vampire Kill Info? Call Again - Herald Sun
A CALLER with information on the murder of a self-professed vampire has been urged to contact investigators again.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

And on the third day ...

It is Sunday. We open on Wednesday. A curious day of the week to open. We have offered a THEATER PROFESSIONALS DISCOUNT for our two Wednesday evenings - bring a program from a current production, if you're in it, you get in for half-price.

Word of mouth is good, even before we open. There's a lot of support out there. And our fucking amazing stage manager Sarah K. attended Cinema Wasteland, the biggest horror movie convention in NEO on Saturday. She chatted up the attendents, passed out a lot of postcards, and got a lot of attention. Of course, I am trying to picture a statuesque knock-out like Sarah walking into an (ahem) horror movie convention and not attracting attention.

In the news ...

New Leads Sought in Vampire Murder - The Age
Homicide detectives have today released an image of a man they believe could help solve the murder of a male prostitute and self-confessed vampire outside his home two years ago ... (more)

Double Suicide Puts Goth Band in the Dock - Sunday Herald
THE joint suicide of two teenage girls, who hurled themselves from a 17th-floor window in a Paris suburb, has raised troubling questions in France about the influence of Black Metal – a form of modern rock music that openly glorifies violence and death.

Both girls were heavily influenced by the goth movement, wore black clothes and had body piercings. Friends said they were obsessed by suicide, and a weblog kept by Marion reveals an angry, self-hating stream of consciousness centring on ugliness and death ...

Faith Camp: Christian Students Gather and Prepare to Defend Their Beliefs - The Chronicle
Each summer more than 1,200 of them come from around the country to attend a two-week workshop on how to defend their faith during college. They listen to lectures on creationism versus evolution, abortion, homosexuality, Christianity and the media, euthanasia, and postmodernism, among other topics. While the workshop is sometimes referred to as a camp, that moniker is misleading: On an average day, students sit through six hours of classes ... (more)

Saturday, October 01, 2005

The Feel-Good Film of the Fall

Okay, this is just about the scariest thing I have ever seen in my life.