#160. The Hypocrites present the world premiere adaptation of THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER. A mysterious letter has prompted a woman to visit her childhood friend, Usher. He wrote that he is inflicted with medical maladies and requests her in-person assessment. Upon arrival, the woman gets sucked into the enigma of Usher’s home life. The house is plagued with a creepy vibe. Thunder, lightning and howling shroud this den of secrets. What is a guest to do? Drink it up! Luckily, there is gin by the spot and then by the pot. THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER continues the rise of the era of Graney. The gothic meets burlesque is scary great!
Adapter and director Sean Graney exploits Edgar Allen Poe’s dramatic short story for melodramatic humor. Words like *terror* and *suspense* are overemphasized for a laugh. Graney poe-lverizes this classic into clever pulp fiction. The thriller-like premise becomes a farcical mystery under Graney’s tutelage. To heighten the lampoon aspect even more, Graney utilizes three actors rotating roles throughout the show. Usher goes out the door. Usher comes back in the door and it’s a different actor. Multiple versions of the same wigs (Designer Mieka Vanderploeg) and exquisite costumes (Designer Alison Siple) make the shift in casting continually engaging. I’m not always sure who is playing which role. I use the distinct voice and presence of an always hilarious Halena Kays as my directory to uncover the mystery. Kays, along with Tien Doman and Christine Stulik, energetically attack each role and wardrobe change with makeover mastery. The synchronized anonymity is both funny and unsettling.
And this house… wow! Set Designer Joey Wade knows how to build intrigue. The stage is a crickety, wooden diorama. The ceiling is low. The stage is high. Doors and stairs are on the sides going somewhere. The illusion is real. Siple even adds in various size top hats to twist perception. Designers Jared Moore (lighting), Rick Sims (sound/composer) and Maria DeFabo (properties) bring the special effects to disturb and amuse. And when it starts to rain… so cool!
THE FALL OF THE HOUSE OF USHER is part fun-house, part haunted-house, part mad-house all under one roof. You should visit Sean Graney’s HOUSE!
Running Time: Ninety minutes with no intermission
At Chopin, 1543 W. Division
Written by Edgar Allan Poe
Adapted and directed by Sean Graney
Fridays, Saturdays and Mondays at 7:30pm
Sundays at 3pm
Thru September 23rd
Buy Tickets at www.the-hypocrites.com