Sunday, December 6, 2015

Of Death and the Theatre!

There are days when I do enjoy a good spooky read. A story that will give me chills down my spine and make me check my apartment one last time before I go to sleep - that's the good stuff! It's even more fun to write macabre stories with a plot twist so as to "disturb" my readers, like Silk in Tales From a Goth Librarian, par example. Such was the case with GUIGNOL: A Tale of Escalating Horror by Brett Schwaner and Keith Hogan. The tale is a simple one: the students at Sainte Jeanne D'Arc are about to put on a play titled GUIGNOL for Halloween, as written by the school drama teacher Madame Jeannette. The word guignol comes from Le Theatre du Grand-Guignol, a theatre in Paris from 1897 to 1962 that showed plays that specialized in horror. Maelynn Maghee has always been a loner, so when she attends her first day of school at Sainte Jeanne D'Arc, she expects the same treatment from the other students. However, another loner and talented artist named Lilly Langtree quickly befriends her and soon, Maelynn is no longer alone. However, all is not what it seems, for Lilly is a special girl, one that can make anyone's dreams come true . . . all for a price, of course. Death, blood, betrayal, love, fear, and redemption are mere characters in the play and soon, all will know just why Lilly LOVES Halloween!

I picked up GUIGNOL at Tubby and Coo's Mid City Bookshop in New Orleans while visiting friends; when I saw the title, I knew I had to purchase it. Two and a half days of speed reading later, I hungrily (yes, I did say that) await the second book, of which does not come out until September of 2016. Rotten, but what's a woman to do? Schwaner's writing and Hogan's illustrations make quite a nice mix of a story that is truly not intended for children, even though the main characters are children. I even wanted to skip to the end, just to find out if the "unexpected twist" occurred. No twist, yet the book did leave on a good enough cliffhanger and that's enough for me. 

For the past several years, I've been toying with the idea of creating a theatre troupe that will put on the plays of the Grand Guignol, Greek tragedies, and other plays that are outside of the norm. Now that I've read GUIGNOL, my theatre idea may soon become a reality. Imagine, if you will, attending a play in which copious blood flows down the stage and Death is a character. Sounds like a lovely time, right? 

Here is one of my favourite scenes ever in a film - the Theatre of Vampires in the film Interview with the Vampire

Beautiful darkness . . . . 


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