Reins or coattails?

The haunted house event is official in its countdown to opening day — volunteers have started receiving their instructions, lists of jobs printed off and the layout finalized. The students are buzzing with excitement and my amazing team of adult supervisors has everything well in hand.

So the question is: am I holding the reins, or doing my best to keep up with everyone else?

Going to be one heck of a ride! I’m reminded of my daughter getting pulled off her feet by our dog on her leash, or of being swept along in the crowd of enthusiastic fans, amazed and slightly stunned at the phenomenon. And I’m full of anticipation for this year, because with the addition of more people to help, we have so many new ideas to try and resources on which to rely. Donations of costuming and fabric and set pieces have started coming in, thanks to our team, and our advertising is going to be on point (again, thanks to the team). So it feels, too, that last year was really about establishing the footing for the event and now, it really gets to shine.

The purposes of the whole endeavour are to raise funds to help fix up the old theatre, as well as put monies in the Drama Club bank account for future productions and trips, but it’s also about involving young people in local theatre, contributing to community togetherness, and providing entertainment for our citizens.

One thing is for certain: I don’t think the event would be at this stage if it were me trying to pull it together alone, like last year. I’m extremely grateful to my friends. And crazy as it sounds, I’ve started to experience that odd phenomena that happens to theatre folk — thinking ahead to the next project, even before this one is finished. I do that with the writing, too. Have to rein myself in and remember to get the one underway completely before my attention moves on!

I put together a trailer to whet our appetites, using pictures from last year’s event, and I’ll do another as soon as our opening night is complete and I have shots of our fresh displays and jump scares. Hoping to do another walk-through, as well.

Send us your positive thoughts! And if you happen to be in my neck of the Canadian woods later this October, stop by the theatre for a refreshing fright . . .

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The catharsis of building a Haunted House

Not a real haunted house — the fun Hallowe’en event. Just so we’re clear! 😜

There are a couple of new elements to this year’s experience, and I’m finding that they are having a positive impact on my mood: 

1) I’ve got reams of help, in the form of three — THREE! — other adults sharing the tasks of design, tracking, and development, and over sixty (OH MY GOD) students who have signed up to participate. I’m fully aware that we may only end up with 30 or 40 regular volunteers, but that’s away and beyond what we had last year. 

2) I get to be crafty, and not just in planning messed up ways to make people scream (and possibly pee a little) — I get to make messed-up crafts. This afternoon, for example, I experimented with zombifying a stuffy. Observe the prototype below!

 

I wonder what the custodian thought about this?

 
I think I will experiment further with adding green and yellow blobs for protruding guts and bones, maybe using papier mache. It was so fun making it, though! As I told one of my partners in crime, I felt both bad and giddy at the same time. Found myself actually apologizing to the thing while I was cutting it open and pulling its stuffing out. 

And then laughing crazily as I daubed it with red paint and glued on the fangs. 

Pure, delicious, consuming evil. 

And this is just the start. We have pages of plans and notes to share with the rest of the volunteers, teams within the larger group that will work together to make the second haunted house even more creepy and frightening than the first. 

I will admit, it’s taken me a little while to get my momentum up on this. Coffee helps, but even more so is the excitement of the others, their push to do it well and get the jobs done — that’s lighting my fire, even in my exhaustion. I cannot wait to see it pulling together over the next two weeks. And as soon as I have footage, making the trailer for social media, too! (I’ve got one ready, using pictures from last year, which will go live on Oct 1 — I’ll post the link for you to enjoy as well. 😬)

I worry, too. I’m anxious about trusting the kids to get their jobs done, and to be there when they say they will be. I worry about the lists of things to be obtained by borrowing, buying (damn, still haven’t asked about my budget!), and making by hand. But knowing I’ve got a team around me and (potentially) a small army of teenagers who are eager to make their friends and family shiver and shriek makes all the difference. 

Stay tuned for updates and photos as the project takes shape. Hallowe’en’s a-coming!