The following is a working script written, produced & directed by Mimi Rankin Webb for the Gas Light Players signature terror-show (Dr. Blood-style) haunted attraction currently known as "Gentleman Death's Shocktale Show." This style of production is presented in progressive black-box theater with a guide leading a group of aproximately 10-13 patrons through a pitch-black maze of rooms in which a scene per room is performed. This style integrates all of the lights, sound & theatrics of the regular theater with the horror genre of today and is unique only to Gas Light Players who have held the tradition since 1975. The artist has been working within this particular style since 1989 and continues the tradition today, using it to include those not typically participating within the arts- families and people living with special needs and upper school aged kids in all aspects of the production process along with area artists to lead them as well as using the finished product as a means to engage those not typically exposed to the arts which has proven successful over the years in reaching areas of the population not typically reached by the arts.
Gallery of the Grotesque: The Blood Is Rising
Safety Speech Room
The waiting room is set with a rather large painting on one wall-It appears to be of The Garden of Eden with a few warped exceptions. There is the tree of knowledge of good & evil that seems to encompass the entire garden. Coming out of and intertwined into the center trunk is the discernable figure of a woman with a rather large serpent wrapped around where her lower legs should be (only it’s now a part of the tree). Her arms are spread wide and appear to be presenting a rather large dark angel with black wings who is holding a single shiny red apple. Several smaller trees are scattered in front and appear to have odd trunks as well, some appear to be dressed in suits. Various weaponry dots the back wall of the portrait. Scrawled below it, is the phrase, “DEATH IS OUR ART” in large, red terror-lettering…
While sitting in the waiting room, the tour can barely make out the chatter & noise from what sounds like a cocktail party (corks popping, champagne flowing, glasses clinking together, plates being set) coming from somewhere nearby… Also, you can make out what the mingling party-goers are discussing…It appears to be negative & often snide comments about some artist & her work. (All sound is on loop & specifically for the waiting area itself)
Crowd Control will hit the sound cue as they collect & lead the tour into the first black twister. The same party banter can be heard, only more clearly understood while in the maze (as if it is in the next room literally & it is!) The party noises will suddenly cease, and the sounds of glasses/plates dropping to the floor and shattering coupled with the very loud obvious thuds of bodies hitting the floor…the final noise as the tour is brought into the guide speech room is that of a single spinning plate coming to a stop.
Inside The Art Gallery
Crowd control will nervously place the tour on the wall in the guide speech room, remind them of their agreement (safety speech) & leave rather abruptly, wishing the tour the best of luck, totally ignoring the carnage that is just beyond the harsh white light shining on the tour…plaster bodies can be made out barely in various states of shatter on the floor- its obviously the remnants of the cocktail party that they had been hearing from the waiting room, and there are blank canvases all askew, hanging on the wall beyond.
In one corner is an easel set up with a work in progress. The painting is beautiful save for huge white blank spaces that are blanked out in the shape of skulls. On a table next to the easel are set paints and a pallet. It becomes obvious that those are intestines instead of paint tubes and bones instead of brushes laid out as a medium. Various organs also can be seen with the brushes sticking out of them in various states of use.
Once the crowd control has locked/chained in the tour, the guide will give them a pregnant pause (long enough to peer into the shadows & see the bodies & the party remnants) then the lights will black out as the Guide moves in to pop-up & begin his/her speech…
Welcome to The Gas Light Player’s 2008 Gallery of the Grotesque. For 23 years, we have thrilled, chilled, and terrified the unsuspecting citizens of the Shreveport/Bossier area with our exhibitions of evil.
Now, for the first time, you shall bear witness to the macabre crimes of creation and meet the very artist responsible for such terrifying torment of the abominations.
Scattered through-out the land, her abandoned diabolical creations of every media imaginable, were left alone to find their way in a cruel and uncaring world.
Seeking solace, they sought out their creator in search of answers to their existence. And here, in this grotesque ghastly gallery, they found and imprisoned her…Pray they do not imprison you as well.
I am _____________ and I shall be your Guide as we witness the tormented souls of evil that have been unleashed upon the unsuspecting.
Together we shall meet the first of the immortals, the Artist matriarch herself, and each of her ghastly, grotesque creations, of which she has long since lost control.
But before we proceed any further, I suggest you recall that no smoking or flames are allowed. No lights of any kind, except mine.
Above all else, you must remember, TO TOUCH NOTHING! For only then has it the right to touch you back.
One final warning, you must listen to me, and ONLY ME, and obey my every command at all times.
For your own safety, stay together with the rest of your tour. If you do become separated, sit down and scream, as loudly as your lungs will allow. Someone or something is sure to find you.
Remember, within these walls, I am your only friend. (Hits sound cue) Only I have a light, only I know the way. Your only hope is to trust me, for only I can help you survive what lies ahead.
The guide is interrupted with maniacal laughter & a woman’s voice:
The Artist: All these things…taken and glued…stapled…stitched…wired…and put together in a very DIFFERENT way…but still the same things…the VERY same things…the same thing it was BEFORE…and you will NEVER recognize it but you KNOW what it is!
As icy laughter fades, the guide gathers his tour, chooses his fearless leader if he so chooses & goes about his way
Guide: Now stay together, and follow me, as we enter the Gallery of the Grotesque.
The tour is sent into the black twister where the guide torments them mercilessly by getting ahead of them at times and popping up, accusing them of not staying with him so that he can protect them…he gets up under the tour and allows about half of them to pass before popping up in the middle of the tour with his light to chastise them for not keeping up, then he takes the trap-door to mysteriously meet his tour as they reach the entrance to the next room.
With The Alchemist, In Her Laboratory
As the tour comes out of the twister, they are led past a door with flowing curtains hanging from the window set within it. As they round the corner just past that door, and are met & positioned by their guide along the far wall, they find that they are facing what appears to be the outside of a quaint cottage. There are two large arched windows through which they can gaze as their guide finishes positioning them.
The alchemist is sitting at a table, surrounded by bubbling cauldrons and various forgotten elixirs which litter the room in goblets. In one corner, there is a slab with a body sporting bulbous boils that appears to be being draining into goblets. The artist sits at a table, reading a very large book (she appears to move as if an animatronic, always consistent.) The guide takes off into the scene itself to begin his speech:
Guide: Here we see the artist, the immortal, the alchemist herself, seeking to reverse the eternal life process that has plagued her kind for centuries. Inadvertently, she has conjured and created many things during the course of her quest…sons, daughters, spawn, all of which she has cast aside and abandoned. She seeks to put an end to her people’s tortured existence. However, her experiments have brought about unwanted attention from the locals, which has angered her.
(On cue, she will make eye contact with the tour, as she simultaneously stands; slamming the book down onto the table in one fluid motion -the book slamming is the cue for the guide to cut the light. In the blackout, the artist is heard stomping across the laboratory to the door as it is swung open on squeaky hinge, and slammed. The room goes very quiet as the guide takes the opportunity to come from the OTHER side opposite the doorway to pop up on the unsuspecting tour with his light in the darkness.
Guide: Quickly, my friends, this way, for we have angered her. She has been known to use Peeping Toms in her experiments!
THE SIN EATER
In the center of the space is a dining table with a body in the center laid out for the ceremony, various foods adorn the body. As the tour enters the room, the sin eater is busy in ritual. He has a dish of salt, an apple in 4 quarters, an eating knife and a candle. He is in the midst of pouring the salt over the body, lighting the candle & setting it at the head of the body. He draws the sign of the cross into the salt, “cuts” the apple into quarters & places each at the 4 quadrants of the cross, then picks up a loaf of bread, tracing his cross quadrants with it in ritual.
Meanwhile, the guide positions tour with the most “Innocent” (a plant) in front.
Guide: The Artist decided that the redemption of the sins of the immortals might somehow reverse the effects of the curse that has plagued them for so long and end their eternal wandering.
A sin eater can sense, draw out and consume the suffering and sins of the living and the dead, in hopes that a soul can find its way to salvation… It can smell sin on a person and has been empowered to exact justice upon the wicked.
Over time, the sins appear to have consumed the creature, taking its toll emotionally, mentally and physically. Yet, the immortals still live.
(On his cue, the sin eater will approach the tour, sniffing for more sin, loaf in hand, to draw them into his ritual (picking on the frightened. The Guide, simultaneously to the ritual lines, will ask the tour for money to pay the sin-eater to help get scares with diversion.)
Sin Eater: You, Taste this bread, this substance… (breaks off piece & gives “communion” to tour.
Guide: (distracting between next marks in the tour for Sin-Eater) “Wouldn’t have 2 schillings and a sixpence to pay the man, would you?
Sin Eater: (turning to the mark) Tell me, is it bread….or FLESH?? (It sniffs the person, then sniffs the bread as if comparing the two) “It is the smell of bread.”
Guide: (to another tour member) “He expects payment NOW! (pleading & somewhat desperate.)
Sin Eater: (He turns to one near the new mark suddenly & asks) Why tremble? ( sniffs again- singles out another on the other end of the line.) DECLARE WHAT THOU DISCERNEST IN THIS OBJECT: BREAD OR FLESH?” (He waits for answer, sniffing each tour member as if trying to sense an answer that isn’t being given)
Guide: Spot me a schilling or a sixpence? (He is getting nervous as the ritual progresses…) I fear what is to become of us if we DO NOT PAY THE SIN EATER FOR HIS EFFORTS.
Sin Eater: BREAD OR FLESH? BREAD ALONE OR FLESH? (He begins to laugh ….On cue, the sin eater turns on the plant/victim, and snatches her from the tour, dragging her behind the table where he guts her. She sinks down, long enough to tie on guts, then makes one last attempt at freedom as the guide is trying desperately to get the tour out of the room into the maze, with promises of saving the victim- as the last of the tour exits, the sin eater finishes her off, attacks the guide & pulls him into the blackout. Guide takes trapdoor to get in front/midst of actual tour, popping up & getting to the next room.)
The guide will do a quick head count at the entry to this room, coming up short that one wicked soul. As guide leads the tour into what appears to be a cavern, the tour can faintly make out faces and in some cases, entire bodies entombed within it, all in various states of agony. Some with their mouths open, and others with hollowed eye sockets, some are babies.
Guide: Here, the Artist has turned to a different sort of medium to end the agony of the immortals, that of stone. (Lighting changes to red gel as the blood begins to flow from the mouths and eyes of the various faces within the walls.) In a vain attempt to suppress her kind, she created a sort of wall. Entombed lies the blood and remains of the immortals. Within the bowels of the blood, life somehow perseveres. (strobe as creature begins to rise out of the blood onto his pedestal for his sslblkout, unnoticed by guide from the curved basin in the corner.) Their energy feeds and thrives upon the negative…I must warn you not to think even one negative thought… ’Tis said that one’s all it takes to awaken the beast within and unleash their angry wrath. (Creature rises to full height, spreads blood wings & pounces under strobe into blackout.)
Guide: Which one of you did NOT listen? Now I must protect you yet AGAIN from the danger. Quickly my friends, this way, less you succumb to the perils of the blood.
Guide shuttles tour out of room while making sure that creature is not amongst the tour.
The Vampyre Shrine
They enter & are positioned in a room that appears to be an extension of the blood catacombs that they just left; only there aren’t any bodies entombed within these cavern walls. Rather, there is a body seated in the center of what appears to be a shrine-set up with offerings scattered about. The body appears to be a mannequin or even a statue.
As he speaks, the guide pours a goblet of blood, drinks from it once, and raises it as an offering to the creature, giving him what proves to be blood…
Guide: Abandoning those entombed within the wall, the Artist sought a new approach: to divine the nature of the immortals. In her experimentation, she took mere humans and melded them in her likeness. The results were not as she had expected. Her vampyric creations, while deprived of their life source, still remained.
(Guide will turn his back on the creature after the sip, which is the cue for the vamp to begin his awakening.)
Guide: Here our brother in blood remains entombed for all time, immortal in stature, yet unmoving for centuries. No blood has passed his lips for years, yet dust he is not. (Vamp lunges for guide and misses as guide sidesteps unknowingly.)
Guide: There are those that speak of what shall be once he awakens and takes his rightful place within our world…However, He has not moved in centuries.”
(Vamp lands his attack, strobe is hit as struggle ensues and guide appears to be being drained and dropped. Vamp then menaces tour, as step scream lunge blackout. The guide magically pops up on tour in blackout to herd tour into the next maze. As last few tour members are waiting to go in, the vamp makes his final attack on the guide pulling him back into the darkness as the light goes out. Guide will take trap door & meet up at Angela’s, but there is to be NO POPPING UP IN THIS NEXT MAZE!!! IT’S FOR ANGELA TO DO!!!)
The Return of Angela Gargon
The guide has taken a trap door to get to the lighting in the next room, bypassing the maze. Angela will pick up the tour in the dark & perform the function of the guide (complete with pop-ups to make it convincing)…she makes NO attempt at hiding her unusual dress and only serves to try & “help” the tour thru the maze with their safety her number one concern…
She will bring them into her room, as sound cue trips, and positions them around her bed, sweet safe talking them all the while…her bed is charred, the room smells of smoke from a recent fire.
The Voices Whisper repeatedly as if in a swarm, ending in a crescendo:
Demons: See pretty little Angela Gargon, chained and bound in a lonely tower room, left to die….For you see her soul was being slowly consumed BY DEMONS!!!!! Angela screams as everything goes silent.
After positioning the tour quickly, Angela climbs up onto her bed, curling into a ball near the headboard with her hands over her ears to drown out the loud voices. After her scream, she stops movement, changes physical character and stands as the lighting changes to strobe (driven by the real guide) to reveal her demon makeup & that she is in fact FOE not friend. With arms outstretched, she begins her incantation of doom.
Angela: Nostrum Abbas , quisnam professio in Olympus , sanctio exsisto Thy Nomen. Thy Regnum adveho Thy Ero perfectus , in Terra , ut is est in Olympus. Tribuo nos is dies nostrum cotidie panis , quod indulgeo nos nostrum trespasses , ut nos indulgeo qui trespass obviam nos. Quod plumbum nos non in tentatio , tamen vindico nos ex malum. Pro macies est regnum , quod vox , quod palma , pro umquam quod umquam.
(This is obviously at the tours expense as the room appears full of spirits whispering the Angela spiel as the doors slam open & shut & the air fills with smoke & the smell thickens…She will take her weapon & step scream lunge on her bed towards her tour under strobe as she is blacked out. During the blackout, she will make her way off the bed to the door that was slamming open & closed & conceal herself there as the chains slam down in the walls all around the room to mask the movement. The lights come up with a whoosh giving the illusion that the room is on fire (scrimmed fire lighting) & filled with thick smoke/haze. Guide enters)
Guide: I see you’ve met the Artist’s ward, little Angela Gargon, doomed to burn for all eternity as penance for her sins. What sins could a child so young possibly be guilty of?
(Think ring round the rosy cadence here.) On cue, Angela bursts out of the closet at tour.
Angela: I killed my mother, I killed my father, I killed my brother NOW I SHALL KILL YOU! (think "all fall down" part of the nursery rhyme.)
The Guide gets in her way in some effort to save the tour. He intercepts, she retaliates by jumping on the guide’s back as struggle ensues….Guide must send tour thru the “closet” as only means of escape…
Guide: Quickly my friends, this way, save yourselves! You must not fear the unknown!
He stays behind to keep Angela away from the tour.
The Portrait Maze
The tour, having yet to get to actually KEEP their guide after the Angela incident, must forge on alone, AGAIN, into what appears to be a very dimly lit Art gallery. With every turn, there is a portrait and every so often, an alcove with a statue of some sort within. Within each alcove, is entombed an immortal. They appear to be simple artwork, but each are, in reality, a shadow box of sorts, lit by a dimly gelled can light which illuminates only the inside of that particular alcove.
The tour must make their way thru the gallery/maze to the end of the room…each alcove either contains a puppet that will reach out to them, move their head etc, or a creature who will suddenly move, then come out of the portrait to move the group along…they are met at the end of the room with their guide who stands before the largest of the portraits that spans the width of the entire room.
Guide: Discouraged by her creations, the Artist turned to the canvas and clay, documenting her vast findings and research over the years. Obsessed with her failures, her artwork begin to dance before her very eyes, driving her further and further away from reality and into the vast abyss and insanity of her creations.
(The statue of focus will then begin to move, at first repetitive dancing of sorts, then it will stop suddenly, raise its weapon, and rush the tour with an elevated step scream lunge blackout. The floor of the painting is about 3 feet off the ground, making it appear that the subject has basically come flying out at the tour the guide makes a big deal out of losing his light in the confusion.)
The guide will see them into the next twister blindly, sans his light that he “lost” in the fray with the entombed immortal from the portrait.
Seeing the Light In the Portrait
Guide follows the tour into the maze, calling after them.
Guide: Find your light; you MUST FIND YOUR LIGHT, lest darkness prevail…
Bumbling, he does his best to break up the tour in the twister leading into the next room so that several creatures can get into the mix with them (they can whisper to draw focus & split the tour up as needed as they slip in amongst them, joining hands with them.)
The tour will enter into the last room through a door that is framed with picture molding. At first, the room appears to be fully lit with the shriner’s lights tiered & aimed at the entryway, which is framed both sides.
The tour can now see that they have literally walked into the trippy painting that was hanging in the waiting room as the Guide catches up with them and positions them, creatures & all in a V with each of the three platforms well covered with tour.
Guide: I trusts that you are all safe as we have made it to the dawn…(creature sound cue picks up overlapping with DAWN) there is a brief blackout, followed by a gelled spot that is brought up focused on the angel on his platform & the tree of knowledge where the Artist is ensnared as the trunk of it…
The Angel: …Of a new era…(laughter rings throughout the room) You have been brought to MY LIGHT…and NOW it is the dawn of a NEW era, where I, along with MY progeny shall make you PAY for these crimes of creation. You are as guilty as she. Your Immortal Artist is now under MY control. We have been working with a new, more willing medium…(2 creatures pull out of line & ascend their platforms) Our latest creations walk amongst you even now…and now, it is time for you to join us!
(The light changes to strobe on the Big Bad Guy and his minion(s) as they step scream lunge blackout off his high platform into the crowd/from their various points around the tour…The tree-creature closest to the doory box will man it during the blackout. The guide attempts to shuttle the tour to the safety into the doory box concealed in form of a sarcophagus within a tree. Beyond, the corridor is in the form of the coffin and skewed every few feet & strobed at the different angles … after playing stuff as many of the tour in as possible & get em to the back to open the exit, the cue is given)
Guide: EXIT, EXIT NOW! (The buzzer goes off, sending the tour back down the hallway towards the true exit as the guide asks for pardon in his error as they all exit down the other hallway where the doory buzzer will go off again via the drop-down in the corner.)
COPYRIGHT 2008. MIMI WEBB. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.