Wednesday, September 24, 2014

A Phantasmagoria Photoshoot Fires off the Halloween Horror

On Sunday September 7th, I went to a photographers studio in Winter Park to sketch a Phantasmagoria photo shoot. The studio space was impressive with an upper balcony that allowed Kristen Wheeler to take photos of the cast from above. John DiDonna explained to the cast that they needed to express resolve and resolution as they faced certain death. Josh Geohagen shouted back, "Like in Toy Story 3?!" Everyone laughed, but even toys can express a solemn resolve before they face their fate.

Phantasmagoria features a unique and spectacular blend of storytelling, dance, large scale puppetry and aerial work. It has been wowing critics and audiences alike since its premier in 2010. Created and envisioned by playwright, director John DiDonna, each production offers new stories taken from the diverse centuries old literature of horror and the macabre!

The first official Phantasmagoria photo shoot of the 2014 Season had Kristen Wheeler the official photographer taking our picks, with help from Ryan McKenzie the company's artist,  and a videographer and photographer there filming the process for articles. This was a perfect storm of creativity. Images will be released soon from this two hour shoot including all poster shots, publicity shots, and shots done specifically for a Phantasmagoria themed Art Gallery show running in October. 

The photo studio was incredibly crowded with the whole cast on hand. Kristen shot the cast in small groups for use in show posters and promotional materials. The rest of the cast would wait on the sidelines when they weren't in the shot.  Kristen seemed to love coaching the actors. as she said, "It is easy to teach an actor how to model, but it is impossible to teach a model how to act. Dion Leonhard was close to tears for every photo. She would shut her eyes and rest between shots. This cast is always in character.

Mark Your Calendar! As we roll into October, Phantasmagoria seems to be everywhere. On September 27th, the steam punk group will make two appearances at Artlando from 11am to 5pm,  happening in Lock Haven park. the $5 Artlando event features, live performances by Orlando Ballet, Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra, Central Florida Community Arts, Orlando International Fringe Theatre Festival, Phantasmagoria, Emotions Dance Company, Orlando Science Center and more! The Orlando Museum of Art is FREE to all attendees. There will be an outdoor art walk, live painting, installations and more! Beer and cocktails will be provided by The Hammered Lamb. Food from The Food Truck Bazaar. They will also appear at Lady Raven's Second Annual Cotillion in the Audubon Park Garden District (3201 Corrine Dr, Orlando, Florida) the same day starting at 7pm. The and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare CenterNow entering its fourth year, Orlando's original Victorian Steam punk Circus troupe offers Macabre and Delicious Halloween tricks and treats. On October 3-11 artwork featuring The Art and Horror of Phantasmagoria will be featured at Valencia's East Campus in the Anita S. Wooton Gallery. My sketches from past shows will be on display, so come to the opening and say hi.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

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