Saturday, October 10, 2015

Phantasmagoria VI "The Darkness Returns" to the Orlando Shakespere Theater.

I went to sketch the final dress rehearsal of "The Darkness Returns" at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center 812 E Rollins St, Orlando, Florida. Having just returned from 
sold out performances in Orlando and Atlanta with the touring show “Wicked Little Tales”, Phantasmagoria Orlando/DiDonna Productions is presenting Phantasmagoria  VI “The Darkness Returns” to celebrate the 2015 Halloween Season and its sixth year in Central Florida!

The show will thunder on to the Mandell Stage with all new stories of terror! Live performers, “Phantastical” dance, explosive stage combat, large scale puppetry, aerial performance and haunting storytelling combine to create a tapestry of macabre and whimsical horror!

The evocative troupe of storytellers, dancers, and chorus embarked on their newest journeys through the literary tales of terror, as well as horrific folk stories, legends, and myths from around the world. “For 100 years they have not been seen except in fleeting glances, and now as we enter a new century the power and magic of the stories return. . . with very dangerous consequences.”

I have had the rare opportunity to watch this show mature over time. This newest incarnation opens with stark black and white images of World War I battle scenes projected on the back wall. The horrors of the tales told are more deeply routed in the horrors of man's inhumanity to man. The first tale involved a man's obsessive desire to kill a cat. With the deed done, the cat hung stiff and lifeless from a tree, managing to stay completely still while the tree limbs danced in a breeze. A magician performed for the jaded cast of storytellers but even they were amazed by what seemed like a predictable trick that alluded reason. Their stories are themselves magical because the tales become tangibly alive and viscerally dangerous.

When the cast hits it's stride, there is a certain whimsical delight as they re-tell the tales of horror. Each character has a back story which has developed over time, but the show holds up as being self contained. Members of the cast often mysteriously appear in the audience and you might be startled as they whisper in your ear. There was a new Russian inspired dance routine in which all the female cast held hands and then each twirled in succession until they formed a tight knit, cross armed line. The aerialists stretched and contorted themselves with a grace causing an awed silence in the theater. There is no better way to warm up to the horrors and chills of Halloween than to see Phantasmagoria "The Darkness Returns".

(All Performances begin at 8pm, with VIP show immediately following main stage show)
Oct 10 (Sat), Oct 11 (Sun)
Oct 16 (Fri), Oct 17 (Sat), Oct 18 (Sun) Oct 19 (Mon)
Oct 23 (Fri), Oct 24 (Sat), Oct 25 (Sun), Oct 26 (Mon)
Oct 30 (Fri), Oct 31 (Sat)

(SUGGESTED AGES: Phantasmagoria contains horror of the literary kind, but is still frightening. Suggested ages are 8 and up with parental guidance. With all respect, infants, babies and younger children may not be admitted)

Student/Senior/Military Admission - $15.00
Student/Senior/Military VIP Admission - $25.00
General admission - $25.00
General VIP Admission - $35.00
(VIP Admission includes Pick of Seating, VIP post show performance, Take home Souvenir, Download of Halloween night story, Photo Op with cast and glass of wine or soft drink)
Reserve (for will call cash only at door) 407-328-9005
Credit card orders visit

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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