Dread Falls Theatre’s Father Dagon Embodies Lovecraftian Fear, con’t

Posted by Will Connor on August 05, 2014 in Blog, Will Connor tagged with

(to see the first part of this three part post, go here)

In this second post on Dread Falls Theatre’s upcoming immersive performance piece, Father Dagon, based on the works of H. P. Lovecraft, I want to further detail the ways in which Victoria Snaith, director of the show and owner of the company, expects to embrace Lovecraft’s sensibilities in a non-traditional performative setting. As mentioned in the previous post, one of Lovecraft’s main threads incorporated throughout many of his works is instilling a sense of fear, both in the reader and the protagonist’s psyche, specifically a fear of the unknown. It is this sense of fear that Snaith looks to emulate within her directorial decisions. As discussed, she has chosen to make Father Dagon an immersive performance, surrounding her audience with the action, stories, sets, music, and art to create a world of “unknowing” upon which to formulate the sense of Lovecraftian fear.

Father Dagon Dread Falls Theatre's New Lovecraft Inspired Performance

A sneak preview of the seductive deep one queen in Dread Falls Theatre’s Father Dagon

Snaith wishes to expand upon the basic emotion of fear through subtle, yet powerful choices in how she has developed the show. She plans on highlighting a common element found in many Lovecraft stories, and an element that Lovecraft himself drew from for inspiration – the strong influence of dreams. Father Dagon will address dreams in several direct and indirect ways. Most tangibly, the sets for Father Dagon will create a sort of maze of various spaces representing different areas within the story arcs. These sets are projected to be heavily stylized, merging standard props with stenciled silhouettes to lend an aire of confusion as to whether or not the world in which the performance takes place is a dream or real. This combined with the non-linear ways in which the audience will pass through the sets is intended to generate a state of questionable reality and sanity.

Another way in which Snaith blurs reality as well as supports the feeling of being submerged in the unknown is to rely primarily on physical storytelling over a more traditional aural style. Snaith says this imparts the tales within Father Dagon using an unfamiliar language, again promoting uneasiness through a lack of concrete communication between performer and audience. This is perhaps a less definitive method of framing the scenes as possible dreams, however, compared to more traditional drama styles, it can certainly seem hallucinatory or other worldly, which is undoubtedly a trait of Lovecraft’s work.

Dread Falls Theatre

Since the company was formed in 2011 by Victoria Snaith, Dread Falls Theatre has developed and performed several gothic works, including their newest piece, Father Dagon.

The roaming immersive experience also affords Dread Falls Theatre the opportunity to conduct multiple mini performances at once, giving the audience the ability to see complete stories, follow characters through different areas to get cross sections of stories, or remain in one location and see what parts of the performance transpire around them. This intertwining of mini performances and the ways in which the audience can engage the show and environment parallels a trait of Lovecraftian writing with a broader scope. In many cases, within Lovecraft’s stories, he references other characters and story lines from his other works. In a way, Lovecraft presents his readers with puzzle pieces that can be gathered to support the world that he has created and in some cases, they generate their own, often implied, satellite story arcs. Snaith’s intentional weaving of action both through character interaction and relocation within the performance space is meant to reflect Lovecraft’s frequent similar interplay.

In the final post of this discussion, I will focus on how the music and sound design for Father Dagon also follow similar Lovecraftian parallels, using unfamiliar and unexpected timbres and performance styles. For more information on the performance itself, please visit the Father Dagon event page here: http://www.facebook.com/events/682555195145213 or to purchase tickets directly simply visit http://www.skiddle.com/groups/dreadfallstheatre and select the date and show time you desire from the listings.

(Go to part three here)

Tiny URL for this post: http://tinyurl.com/msfkrce