The interactive stage production Play Dead, from magicians Teller and Todd Robbins, is now running at Los Angeles’ Geffen Playhouse. You have a few more days to catch a preview, and then it’s full steam ahead with regular performances through Sunday, December 22nd.
From the Press Release:
“We’re never so alive as when we’re scared to death,” posits Todd Robbins in the opening moments of Play Dead, now appearing in the Audrey Skirball Kenis Theater at the Geffen Playhouse. Eight performances have been added through December 22. This evening of spine-chilling entertainment, a co-creation from the minds of magicians Teller, who directs, and Robbins, the main performer, conjures spirits of serial killers and mediums in a show that is macabre and merry.
The themes of death, darkness, and deception are explored in tales that are frightening, funny, erotic, and jaw-dropping. With creepy delight, Robbins uses sight, sound, and touch to raise a host of real life horrors including Albert Fish, a cannibalistic serial killer, and Margery the Boston Medium, whose nude séances raised the dead and evolved into orgies. Robbins performs a demon extracting surgery on a trusting audience member, an on-stage murder, and the tidy ingesting of a light bulb.
The stories and events of this interactive production contain some disturbing images, brief moments of nudity, and a great deal of fun. Audiences are surrounded by sights, sounds, and touches of the returning dead. Material may be inappropriate for the faint of heart – or those under 18.
Teller, the smaller, quieter half of renowned magic duo Penn & Teller, worked with Robbins to develop Play Dead, which was sparked from a desire to create a séance-based play. The show is an ode to the American spook show, a mid 20th century popular entertainment involving midnight shows, magicians, and manipulation of the senses all taking place in the dark.
Long Beach, California, native Robbins, a magician and illusionist, developed an early fascination with all things spooky and sordid. As a teenager he snuck friends into the Long Beach Municipal Cemetery, where he captivated them with macabre stories. Trained at San Francisco’s American Conservatory Theater, his interest in magic and carnivals brought him to Coney Island, where he held positions from sideshow performer to executive director. Todd appears on the DVD instructional series Modern Con Man including How to Scam Your Way to a Free Beer, Poker Night Scams and Cons, and Work Place Pranks; and he is the author of The Modern Con Man: How to Get Something for Nothing.
Play Dead was presented Off-Broadway in November 2010, where The Wall Street Journal called it a “funny, furious and wholly enthralling” and The New York Times proclaimed it as a “wild, wicked show.”
Preview Performances – Running now through Tuesday, November 19, 2013
Opening Night – Wednesday, November 20, 2013 (tickets unavailable)
Monday – Only Monday, November 25, 2013, at 8pm (Thanksgiving week)
Tuesday–Friday – 8:00pm*
Saturday – 3:00pm; 8:00pm
Sunday – 2:00pm; 7:00pm
Closing Night – Sunday, December 22, 2013
(*No performance on Thanksgiving Day, Thursday, November 28, 2013)
Ticket prices range from $57 to $87 and are available in-person at the Geffen Playhouse box office (10886 Le Conte Avenue, Los Angeles CA 90024), online at GeffenPlayhouse.com, or by phone at 310-208-5454.
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