Phantasmagoria IX – Homecoming
Created and Directed by John DiDonna
Choreography by Mila Makarova
It seems the producer and writer John DiDonna has some sort of pact with the copyright demons: every year he comes up with another basket full of copywrite free horror stories written in the 18th or 19th century. He tells these stories through dance, projection and sword play via a dozen or so carefully curated iconic archetypes. Fancy undies and steam punk embroidery enhance the ladies, and the guys lean toward Victorian brocades, bowler hats and circus makeup. There’s great dialog: my favorite lines tonight was: “My plinth, if you please!”
The stories range from creepy to comic to chilling, and the goal here is authenticity to the source material. We hear some obscure Poe, including the poem “Alone” which he wrote in a guest book, and other obscurity titled “Ligeia.” Lazarus drops in, he’s got a curse of the wandering Jew on him and cannot die. He soon gains a grudging acceptance in this otherwise Eurocentric cast. Monsters attack, frozen girlfriends die and even the suspect Catawampus cross our stage, all executed with elaborate chorography and unison chants. Tonight’s climax is a stilt walking knight with a huge medical appliance on his back; it just clears the lights as a bit of oversized puppetry. Like the wandering cast, this show is bouncing between Central Florida venues in Orlando, Sanford, Ocala and Deland. Try to catch one, it’s the classiest horror show in town.