The Forge Presents Scariest Show It's Ever Seen, THE DUNSTAN CREEK SEANCE
The Forge at The Court is about to host "the scariest show it's ever seen" with the world première of The Dunstan Creek Séance, according to Associate Director of The Court Theatre, Dan Pengelly.
Written by, and featuring, Lizzie Tollemache and David Ladderman, this new work blends real-life accounts and early New Zealand ghost stories to create a tense theatrical thriller that will make audiences "question every shadow and sleep with the lights on", in the vein of supernatural chillers such as The Woman in Black. The Dunstan Creek Séance will also incorporate Tollemache and Ladderman's skills in magic and illusion to create a truly immersive and terrifying experience.
Tollemache and Ladderman were honeymooning around Central Otago in 2015, and were taken by how many stories there were of hauntings and how matter-of-fact the locals were about their supernatural experiences. Intrigued by the fact that many of these accounts hadn't been widely heard before, Tollemache and Ladderman began researching Central Otago history as well as the occult. Following "a few [supernatural] experiences of our own", the two decided "this is a story that wanted to be told" and set to work on developing what became the "bare bones" of The Dunstan Creek Séance.
The Dunstan Creek Séance begins as a presentation for the Canterbury Psychic Society by occultists Suzanne and Arthur Bishop, a husband and wife whose paranormal investigations abruptly ended following an incident that put a young woman in hospital. After years out of the public eye, the Bishops have returned with a book "Ghosts of the Gold Rush", a strict maxim of "research only" and refusing to discuss the events that caused their disgrace. However, during the presentation increasingly unsettling occurrences suggest that prior events are not so easily left behind.
"The Forge is for work that pushes the boundaries," says director Pengelly "and this show explores the edges of what we believe. It will absolutely thrill and scare the audience in a way no horror film can. In a movie theatre, you know you're safe."
This new work has already taken on something of a life of its own in rehearsal. Many elements of the show being kept strictly confidential, with theatre personnel required to sign secrecy clauses and rehearsals taking place in a secure room outside of the normal rehearsal space, incorporating some "protective elements" used in séances. "This play will scare the s__t out of people - we've already begun scaring ourselves" says Tollemache.
The Dunstan Creek Séance runs from 16 April - 7 May with a strict warning that the show is not suitable for those with a nervous disposition or heart condition. "Best to come with a group of friends and plan to do something nice afterwards," says Tollemache. "Don't go home alone."
· Lizzie Tollemache: Suzanne/Rose
· David Ladderman: Arthur/Ben
· Daniel Pengelly: Director
· Richard van den Berg: Set Designer
· Sarah Douglas: Costume Manager
· Sean Hawkins: Lighting Designer
· Joe Hayes: Sound Designer/Operator
· Christy Lassen: Properties Co-ordinator
· Erica Browne: Stage Manager
To Book phone 03 963 0870 or visit www.courttheatre.org.nz.
Ticket Prices: Child from $18; Under 25 from $23; Senior/groups 10+ from $30; Adults from $35
· 8:00pm, Monday - Saturday
· Opening Night: Saturday 16th April, 8.00pm
· Forum with cast & crew: Monday April 18th following the 8pm performance
· 11:00pm, Friday April 29th