Theatrefolk - The Drama Teacher Resource Company

Theatrefolk Featured Play: Horror Movie 101: Failing Can Be Deadly by Steven Stack

Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight. Today we’ve got horror. That’s right horror theatre. We love this genre and love being able to offer it to you with Steven Stack’s new play Horror Movie 101: Failing Can Be Deadly.

Surviving your teenage years is difficult enough. But in St Claire, where teens continually violate the rules of Horror Movie 101, it’s practically impossible.

You know the rules: never open a door if someone knocks after the lights go out. If your car runs out of gas and a girl on the side of the road asks you to take her home to mother – don’t. Haunted houses are never a good idea, and neither are cabins in the middle of the woods. And if you use an ancient burial ground to bring some back, they’ll come back wrong. Everyone knows that.

This collection of haunting, horrifying, harrowing AND humourous scenes will keep you laughing as you keep your eyes covered.

Why did we publish this play?
Horror Theatre is a genre that we just don’t often see on the stage. It’s the realm of movies with their scary music, their jump scares, and their ability to create buckets of blood.

But that doesn’t stop playwright Steven Stack. Steven loves exploring this genre (have you read his Ashland Falls? The Bottom of the Lake?) and we’re thrilled to add Horror Movie 101 to our catalogue. Anything can happen on the stage and you don’t need a camera to create a jump scare.

Plan this play for October right now!

Let’s hear from the author!

1. Why did you write this play?
Two reasons. One, we were doing a Halloween Show at the studio I work for and I needed something for it. But the main reason was that I love writing plays that mix horror, comedy, tragedy and strong characters and once the idea came to me about creating a one-act that featured scenes that took place in the same town and were connected, I was super excited about diving into the bizarre happenings of St. Claire, Minnesota.

2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
The path that our life takes comes down to the decisions that we make or don’t make. And all of those decisions come to an end: one that is happy or one that is not.

3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
Sarah looking at the body bag at the end of The One. That it, in some ways, sums up the themes of all the plays, even the comedies.

4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
Play the truth of each scene and characters and really push to internalize the stories. This holds especially true for the comedies. I think there’s often a tendency for actors to play the “jokes” in comedies instead of playing the truth of the characters, who often don’t find their situations funny. And I think that, in the end, is what makes it funny.

5. Why is this play great for student performers?
One reason is because it’s a mix of horror, humor, and tragedy which I believe anyone, especially teens, can get on board with. I think another reason is because this play forces actors to internalize deeply to create the truth of the various moments in order to have them work on stage.

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