By Icarusflies 5 Comments
Today's Blog Monday is a review of the Lovecraft Festival, which I attended during my vacation.
So my grandparents managed to get tickets for the H.P Lovecraft Festival…please note that they knew NOTHING about Lovecraft, and only thought to buy tickets due to a ‘subtle’ tip from my parents. (HEY Icarus’ grandma, look what I found! Icarus would LOVE this!). Yep. Subtlety. Anyway, they announced that we were going to see it and I promptly spazzed out, as everyone knew I would. By now I think it’s quite clear that I spazz easily and in a major way. So week and a half goes by, blah, blah, blah, I save my Batthulu shirt JUST FOR THIS. But then I realize that I ALSO brought my Miskatonic Shirt, and there was great quandary! Batthulhu won out…because it’s BATTHULHU and more recognizable as a Lovecraft icon.
In the meantime, my grandparents tried to distract me with the Spiderman Musical (they’re theater buffs…er….they like taking us to the theater even if it’s not really in their tastes) which I’ll be seeing tomorrow…no dice. LOVECRAFT. FESTIVAL.
FINALLY, the day came. We took the train into New York City (I listened to Unnatural Selection for almost the ENTIRE TIME. [It’s a long song, so that’s not saying all that much] Then Scott Pilgrim for the rest. Got into the city, my grandfather picked us up and we drove into the theater district for dinner. Dinner passed in a haze of ‘what time is it?’ ‘Icarus, there is PLENTY OF TIME’…. ‘WHAT TIME IS IT?!’ ‘Icarus, there’s still an hour and a half before we have to be there, calm down.’…. ‘Hey, just wondering….what time is it?’ [Grandpa facepalms]. Well, dinner ended, and I pretty much RAN to the theater, despite not knowing where it was. After narrowly avoiding getting lost, we found the theater (Under St. Marks Theater). BUT THEY WOULDN’T LESS US IN UNTIL FIFTEEN MINUTES BEFORE THE SHOW STARTED!!! AAARRGGH! I paced the block, raced back, refused to get under cover despite the fact that it was raining, and then…WAS LET INTO THE THEATER!
It’s a small place. There were a few rows of chairs, two music stands, and a giant poster of HP Lovecraft. My grandmother passed over some Lifesavers (probably to get me to stop talking Lovecraft) and I was temporarily pacified imagining that I was Cthulhu and they were souls I was devouring. Then….THE ACTORS WALKED ON!!!
Oh, before I go on I’ll just give a quick description of the program: These were two readings, highly dramatized, by two actors. They were going to be performing The Call of Cthulhu and Reanimator. Frank Zilinyi was the policeman/investigator and Herbert West’s assistant. Eric Whitten was the professor and Herbert West. No props, just lighting and sound effects…and it was one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. Oh, one more note about props: the microphone was used as a revolver when it was called for.
So they entered, and quoted Lovecraft. Then they launched into The Call of Cthulhu. Speaking in heavy Cajun accents they detailed the cults found down in the Bayou…and the horrid dreams afflicting the psychically sensitive. It was riveting…and might I add, both of them were fantastic at screaming in the grip of insanity.
A quick break, another Lovecraft quote, and then Reanimator began! They added some humor to the normally grim tale…for example, the matter of Herbert West’s incinerator. A rough paraphrasing: “I still had enough of my inheritance to outfit the laboratory, but not to get the incinerator Herbert wanted.” Herbert: “Are you sure we can’t afford it? I do so want an incinerator”…and then, towards the end, Herbert took up a new job as a janitor in an underground theater in St. Marks Place (lots of laughs, naturally), where he sets up a lab and is thrilled to have his incinerator! He performed numerous horrible experiments, burning the evidence, to which he replied: “Well, I love using my incinerator”. Lots of quips, things like that. But at the same time they managed to keep the manic fervor of West, the sense of claustrophobia, and kept pretty true to the story.
It ended, I clapped harder than anyone in the tiny theater, and I’ll probably attempt to contact the actors at some point to say how much I loved it. Yeah, it was so great I’m going to brave the phonebook. That says a lot for me. Walked out, babbling incoherently about how much I loved it, how well it was done, Herbert West, Cthulhu, etc. My brother and grandparents kind of rolled their eyes….they’re pretty accustomed to this sort of thing by now. They liked that I loved it so much, but I think it wasn’t really their cup of ichor. It was EXACTLY my eldritch abomination of choice.
I was in full ‘OMG OMG OMG’ mode, extremely overstimulated by the sheer amazingness, and my grandfather had the bright idea to make that worse with a sugar high. GELATO!!!
I had gelato. Then back in the car, I listened to Shoggoth on the Roof, my favorite Lovecraftian musical, and simultaneously tried to talk about Lovecraft, his life, his works, etc. Eventually I just put Shoggoth on the speaker and baffled everyone. They put up with about half an hour of that, then we got back to my grandparents’ house. I promptly rushed upstairs to get my Cthulhu plushie, and showed it off. Then I raced into the other room to write this while it was still fresh in my mind, and that’s what’s been happening until now.
If nothing else, this proved without a doubt how much of a Lovecraft nut I am….though I think everyone already knew this.
To conclude this blog, here's the only happy picture of Lovecraft I've ever seen: