BWW Interviews: Baron's Men Get Spooky with MEDIEVAL MACABRE
Something wicked's coming to Austin this Halloween. Baron's Men will terrify Austinites with MEDIEVAL MACABRE, an original work that asks one simple question: Can literature be frightening?
I recently had the opportunity to speak with the production's Producer, Laura Trezie, and here's what she had to say about Baron's Men, MEDIEVAL MACABRE, the unique style of the Curtain Theater, and things that go bump in the night…
BWW: Hi Laura. How are you?
LT: Good, thanks.
BWW: Great! Thank you so much for connecting with BroadwayWorld and taking the time to speak with me. I'm really excited to hear about what you're doing over at Baron's Men and really excited to hear about this production. So first off, I was wondering if you could tell me a bit about the history of Baron's Men.
LT: Sure. So originally, all of the original members were part of another group called the Society for Creative Anachronism who are medieval re-enactors. Baron's Men kind of stemmed from performances that the original members put together around the campfire at SCA events. Basically, BrIan Martin, who is one of our founding members, and Steven Hemphill got together at an event one time and did a shorter version of HENRY V. The version that they put together was basically all of the high spots, so they called it HENRY THE ONE FIFTH. And they've kind of just been playing ever since then. The Curtain Theater, where we do most of our shows, is owned by Richard Garriott who was an active member of SCA at that time. He came to Brian and Steven and said, "Hey, why don't I build a theater?" They thought he was joking, but he built a replica of an Elizabethan theater on his property.
BWW: Fantastic! Would you mind telling me more about the theater? I saw pictures of it, and it looks absolutely stunning. What is it like for an audience member to see a show in that space?
LT: It's kind of amazing how the theater replicates the Elizabethan style. I don't know. I'm kind of at a loss for words. It's completely wooden. We have two tiers. Everything is close to what they would have done in Elizabethan times. It's got the feel of it. It's got the smell of it. It creaks. It groans. It's just a magnificent space. It is a theater in the round, so you have a very good view of the stage from pretty much all of the seats. It's just fascinating, really. It's like taking a step back in time.
BWW: Well I can't wait to visit the space. So let's talk a bit about this show. What is MEDIEVAL MACABRE about?
LT: Basically, it is about different pieces of literature that have come about throughout the years that are, in fact, terrifying. We have snippets and scenes from different plays, legends, and accounts of things. We have a werewolf, Beowolf, some snippets from Shakespeare and other playwrights. We have Titus Andronicus. So it's kind of a collection of pieces that are designed to scare. The premise is that we have two travelers who have basically managed to miss a big storm that's coming through and they've taken shelter with a man who is hosting them for the night, and they get into a discussion about whether or not literature is scary. All of the scenes are basically the host showing the travelers how literature can be frightening.
BWW: Is this an original show?
LT: It is! It's an originAl Baron's Men work.
BWW: So was it a collaboration in terms of the company to put the piece together?
LT: Sort of. There were three of us that sat down and came up with the idea, and we got to talking about it, and one of our members, Cherie Weed, actually wrote the play and wrote all of the connecting pieces between all of the scenes so there's more of a story.
BWW: So what inspired Baron's Men to create this show?
LT: I think it's something that all of us are interested in. We're all interested in the legend of things. We're actually a big group of nerds. We like to teach history and re-enact history, so why not make a show that's going to educate some of the audience members in something that maybe they've never been exposed to? All of these stories have been around for ages.
BWW: So what can audience members expect if they come see the show?
LT: I think they will be surprised and freaked out. I think some pieces are gruesome. It's definitely a PG-13 show.
BWW: Yeah, you've got to love it when someone on the creative team carries the title of Master of Gore.
LT: Yeah (laughs).
BWW: I saw that on your website and thought that's an awesome job title.
LT: (laughs) We're probably going to need to make him a t-shirt that says that. But I think audiences will be pleasantly surprised. Hopefully they'll walk away from this show going, "Wow! I did not expect that." With this particular stage, we have the ability to do a lot of different things, and mind you all of our performances are somewhat low-tech. If you hear a sound somewhere, there's someone making that sound, probably with something that isn't modern. I think that they'll be pleasantly surprised.
BWW: Great! Well thank you so much, Laura, for your time. I know I'm very excited to see the show, and I wish you and the cast and crew all the best.
LT: Thank you so much, Jeff.
MEDIEVAL MACABRE, produced by The Baron's Men, plays the Curtain Theater at 7400 Coldwater Canyon Dr, Austin TX, 78730 Friday and Saturday nights October 5th through October 27th. Pre-show starts at 7:30pm and the show starts at 8pm.
For tickets and information, visit www.thebaronsmen.org