By Venus Zarris
Over the years I have had some unusual coincidences while viewing theater. I prefer to go into a production knowing as little about it as possible. That way, there are fewer preconceived notions affecting the experience.
Here are three aspects of H. P. Lovecraft’s story The Dreams In The Witch House that I was unaware of until after seeing the show.
1. Rats are a creepy thread in the story. There are rat infestations and also there is a half-human/half-rat creature.
2. Incantations are recited, one of which speaks of a unicorn.
And 3. There are witches. (OK, maybe I guessed about the witches given the title of the play.)
I received a phone call on the morning of the day that I was going to review WildClaw Theatre’s production of H. P. Lovecraft’s The Dreams In The Witch House. It was my downstairs neighbor asking if I would help her with a problem. She said that she had a strange smell in her apartment and couldn’t pinpoint its origins.
I went down to attempt to help locate the stink. After an extensive search of her very clean kitchen we moved a tall shelf and discovered rodent ‘evidence’ and a hole in the wall where the little creature was frequenting. (This was a mouse and not a rat but rodents are rodents, especially when they are up to no good.)
I got down on all fours to check out the hole with a flashlight. My face was at ground level when all of a sudden I felt a brutal blow to my head! This was not a tap mind you but a severe blow, literally a ‘seeing stars’ blow. When I managed to get back on my feet I saw that a large solid brass unicorn had toppled over as a result of moving the tall shelf next to the fridge where it was sitting on top of. (Again, my head was ground level and this fell from the top of the fridge. That was over two weeks ago and I still have a painful dent on my noodle.)
As I was getting ready to leave my neighbor’s apartment, with ice pack on head, she informed me that she would be going out of town for a few months starting at the end of December. While away she will be sub-letting her apartment out to …
… a coven of tantric witches who will be setting up a goddess temple in her living room. (I am not casting aspersions on my soon to be downstairs neighbors, just simply pointing out the strange parallels.)
1. Rats – the busy little stinky mouse
2. Unicorn – the painful dent in my noggin
3. Witches – witches!
Any ONE of these coincidences would be strange. Any TWO would be bizarre.
But all THREE?…
This made for a triple threat of freakish déjà vous that swept over me in eerie waves while watching The Dreams In The Witch House.
Not only was WildClaw Theatre able to create an entertaining adaptation of H. P. Lovecraft’s haunting classic, but also they inadvertently tapped into something a bit more personally peculiar and unexpectedly unusual.
This makes me very excited to see their next production, and perhaps just a little bit nervous?
I’m not sure that I am ready for zombies!
WildClaw Theatre – Bringing Horror and the Supernatural to the Chicago Stage