A New Horror Comedy & a Timeless Classic! - TribPapers

A New Horror Comedy & a Timeless Classic!

Jason Phillips & Morgan Miller in the Splatter Play. Photo by Jennifer Bennett.

Asheville – The Splatter Play, written by local lighting designer extraordinaire Abby Auman and produced by The Magnetic Theatre, is disgustingly hilarious!

Overflowing with high satire, low-brow humor, and buckets of blood, this show has everything one would want in a horror comedy: an intricate plot, interestingly entertaining characters, almost every accent imaginable, grotesquely accurate props, and a complete disregard for the cleanliness of the audience.

Designated the “splash zone,” those seated in the first several rows should expect to be sprayed repeatedly with completely safe, non-staining, fake blood.

The theater is selling a five-dollar protective gear kit (a poncho and shoe covers) for those who would like to leave the venue relatively unscathed.

I am not a horror or gore person, so I sat in the back of the audience and covered my eyes quite a bit. Thankfully, this is a show where I could usually tell something gross was about to happen.

While I am certain I didn’t have the full appreciation and amazement for those bloody technical aspects of the production, I could not stop laughing at the variety of hilarity that played out onstage.

It was a wonderful mix of sharp, witty dialogue, deadpan deliveries, ridiculous physical comedy, and so many bizarre moments that took me by surprise.

Auman’s writing, Jess Johnson’s direction, and the outrageous lengths this immeasurably skilled cast traveled to amp up every bit of humor made this a one-of-a-kind, must-see experience.

The run has been extended to October 28th. Tickets, trigger warnings, and additional information can be found at TheMagneticTheatre.org.

Graphic for Death of a Salesman via HART.
Graphic for Death of a Salesman via HART.

Thematic Staging for Death of a Salesman Invigorates This Classic!

This was my first time seeing the iconic Arthur Miller play, and to say I was overwhelmingly impressed would be an understatement.

Doug Savitt’s approach to direction was inventive and thoroughly effective. Through what Dakota Mann (who plays Happy Loman) termed “thematic staging,” Savitt was able to increase the pacing, remove the dead time between scenes, and add visual elements that gave the show layers of meaning and ambiance that would not be found in the traditional play.

I was deeply engaged from the moment the show started through to the final moments (conceived by Savitt), which were so emotionally stunning that I audibly gasped.

Filled with powerhouse performances by the core cast, Jimmy Raciopppi, Kathy O’Connor, Stevie Jones, and Dakota Mann, this is Death of a Salesman like you have never seen it before.

While the script is dated in terms of things like misogyny and body shaming, it is also painfully relevant today. The struggles, obstacles, and generational trauma that those of us who are poor or living paycheck-to-paycheck are forced to endure are well represented and, sadly, still quite accurate for a work written 74 years ago.

While there are a few laughs, this play will mostly make you think and cry. Bring tissues. Bring lots and lots of tissues, but whatever you do, do not miss this show.

Death of a Salesman is running at HART through October 29th. Tickets, trigger warnings, and other information can be found at HartTheatre.org.