Sunday, October 15, 2017

Phantasmagoria VIII "The Chains of Fire" at the Shakes.

Phantasmagoria Orlando and DiDonna Productions is proud to present the eighth all new installment in their critically acclaimed “Whimsically Macabre” Halloween Celebration at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center (812 E. Rollins St, Orlando, Florida 32803). 

The brand new PHANTASMAGORIA VIII "Chains of Fire" thunders on to the Mandell Theater 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!

Phantasmagoria’s evocative troupe of storytellers, dancers, and chorus embark on their newest, and perhaps darkest journeys yet , through literary tales of terror, and horrific folk stories, legends, and myths. Enter with us into dark tales from the likes of Edgar Allan Poe, H.G. Wells, Robert Browning, Lord Byron, and Charlotte Perkins Gilman among many others – all to set the tone for a truly Phantasmagorical Halloween season!

I went to a dress rehearsal which had a fairly clean run thru of the show. Using the iPad meant I could see what I was working on throughout the performance. I am really enjoying the ability to zoom in when sketching performers. The digital sketchbook is becoming my preferred medium when sketching in a dark theater. This was indeed a darker and more sinister show. Strangulation and death haunted the cast though most every story. Once they begin a tale it must be told to completion. The hitch is that they live the tale intimately to the point of near death. The cast seems immortal however having told the stories for centuries. 

One of my favorite moments came after the run thru. John DiDonna was giving a note on how to dramatically stage a strangulation. He said, "Here allow me to show you by strangling my wife." He grabbed Dion Leonhard DiDonna by the neck and arched her backwards as he leaned over her. Being a ballerina, she made even the gruesome moment look graceful.

After the run thru, the cast did a whimsical and comically relaxed rendition of the story, "Captain Murderer". The cast ran out into the audience often getting face to face with the audience as they told the tale with absolute delight. They are at their best when mixing the macabre with the whimsical.

Special VIP Experience - Arrive by 7:20 on Select Nights
New this year, the VIP show will occur BEFORE the main stage show on select nights only (Fri/Sat nights and Halloween) as they introduce their “Phantasticaly Phantabulous Sideshow Extravaganza!” Specialty acts, special guests, and appearances by members of the Phantasmagoria troupe weave together to start the evening off in the best and darkest of ways! This year all VIP seating can be RESERVED (for the first time) upon coming to the door to ensure prime seating for all our VIP guests. At the end of the show, the VIP audience member will also be treated to a final encore especially designed for them! VIP also includes a glass of wine or soft drink, a take home gift and more!

Information and Ticketing can be found beginning in September on the website or on their Facebook page.

Phantasmagoria/DiDonna Productions
Phantasmagoria VIII “The Chains of Fire”
Oct 13th – Nov 4th 2017
All evening performances at 8:00pm (Box opens at 7:00pm/
VIP Show experience at 7:20 / VIP Theater Entrance at 7:50 followed by General Admission seating)
Oct 13, 14, 20, 21, 22, 23, 27. 28. 29. 30. 31, Nov 3, 4
Special MONDAY Performance on October 30th @ 9:00pm only
NOTE: VIP Show Experience only available Friday/Saturday nights and Halloween MUST arrive early for 7:20-ish start
General Admission and Student/Senior/Military available on all nights.
The Mandell Theatre, John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center - Loch Haven Park, Orlando, FL
Lot on site, additional lots and street parking in close proximity
Student/Senior/Military Admission - $15.00 / General admission - $25.00
Student/Senior/Military VIP Admission - $30.00 / General VIP Admission - $40.00
(VIP Admission includes Pre Reserved Seating, VIP SideShow performance, wine or soft drink, a take home surprise, and more! – Available only Friday/Saturday and Halloween nights)
WILL CALL/CASH ONLY AT DOOR reserve by calling our hotline at 407-476-5121
(Leave name/number/date of performance and number in party – you will be called back only if there is a problem with your reservation)

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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