“Phantasmagoria” is back for more eerie Halloween tales of terror

Phantasmagoria

“Phantasmagoria VIII: Chain of Fire” opens on Oct. 13. (Photo by Chris Bridges)

ORLANDO — Phantasmagoria.

If you hear that word in Orlando, it’s likely to mean something special, something unique, to a whole lot of city residents. And the first thing they’re likely to note in their minds is that it must be Halloween season.

“Phantasmagoria” is the long-running series of theatrical shows that have been performed every October for nearly a decade. The show, created by writer, director and actor John DiDonna, features a troop of 40 performers who entertain audiences with circus-like tricks while also recreating eerie tales of terror from the vaults of classic literature. The shows offer a unique mix: dance, music, large-scale puppetry, and acrobatics. Classic authors like Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, H.P. Lovecraft and Mary Shelley have all been given their due by the Phantasmagoria troupe.

There is also a traditional VIP event after each show, where audiences who purchase the VIP tickets can see some extra neat tricks being done by the performers.

The series has become so successful that it’s also been performed at the Orlando International Fringe Theater Festival, and DiDonna has also taken it out on the road, with shows in Atlanta, Baltimore, and other cities.

And not surprisingly, now that it’s October, “Phantasmagoria VIII: The Chains of Fire” is arriving right on schedule. Continue reading

Freeline Productions publishes eerie novel “Waking In The Dark”

Waking in the Dark

Author Michael W. Freeman’s book “Waking In The Dark” is a collection of six eerie stories. (Graphic by Sherrie Smith.)

ORLANDO — Freeline Productions has released a collection of dark tales, based partly on the author’s dreams … and nightmares.

The book explores themes that range from modern day Antisemitism and a rising tide of extreme nationalism, to sexual paranoia, and whether aging historic properties truly can harbor malevolent spirits.

“Waking In The Dark” by author Michael Freeman is now available on Amazon and as a Kindle eBook.

 

WHAT’S IT ABOUT?

A man at a small cafe comes to the attention of two unemployed factory workers who harass him verbally, at least at first …

… a business executive checks into a historic hotel in South Florida, not fully aware of the disturbing history in the room he’s renting … Continue reading

Fringe Review: “Theodore’s Super Fun Adventure”

Theodore's Super Fun Adventure Orlando Fringe

There are plenty of laughs to be found watching “Theodore’s Super Fun Adventure” at the Orlando Fringe Festival.

ORLANDO – “Theodore’s Super Fun Adventure” starts off as a gay-meets-cute comedy, has a wonderfully engaging performance by lead actor Mike Van Dyke, tosses out plenty of funny quips … and then it takes a radical, startling change in tone at the end.

The very light beginning is almost a bit misleading at first, and as I thought about the play afterwards, I realized I had missed the initial clues about the direction it was heading in.
But they were there from the start.
“Theodore’s,” now playing at the Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, was written by local funnyman Bobby DeSormier and directed by veteran performer Rob Ward. It begins as a comedy about a nervous, socially awkward young gay man from the sticks, Theodore (Van Dyke), who just moved to the Big Apple, found himself an apartment above a local restaurant, and even has a gay bar right across the street. Continue reading

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