Halloween is for adults as much as kids.
For those adults looking for some fun things to do this Halloween season, local theater and dance companies are offering spooky, thought-provoking and sexy shows in October.
Mesa Encore Theatre’s Production of The Woman in Black
The Woman in Black has been spooking audiences since 1987 but not with blood, guts and gore. The play uses a more psychological form of scare to leave a deep impression on audiences.
The Mesa Encore Theatre will produce the show at its Black Box Theatre through Oct. 22.
Adapted into a play by Stephen Mallatratt from a Susan Hill novel, the show takes place in a theater in Victorian England, where Solicitor Arthur Kipps and an actor are recreating a haunting experience from the past.
Kipps hopes by sharing his story with his friends and family, he can dispel his past demons, but unexpected twist and turns happen throughout the play within the play.
The actor plays Mr. Kipps, and Kipps takes on the roles of the other characters.
The production features J. Kevin Tallent as the real Mr. Kipps and Tim Fiscus as the actor.
Director Virginia Olivieri said the show uses simple props such as a bench as a pony and trap and relies on the actors to bring the story to life. She said this is especially important for Tallent, who often plays different characters in the same scene.
“I needed someone who was not only well-versed in being able to change his dialogue, his delivery and his mannerisms to portray these different characters but also strong enough to understand and be able to deliver what each character’s purpose was,” Olivieri said. “You have to be able to jump in and out of these different people on a dime and really be able to portray and keep the audience’s understanding of what’s happening in the story.”
Olivieri said that Fiscus needs to bring a depth of feeling as the actor and Mr. Kipps during the play within the play.
“He has to be able to play the actor in a play that he takes on Kipps’ story and be able to portray it with the appropriate amount of intensity and emotion,” Olivieri said.
Much of the action in show is left to the audience’s imagination.
“For me, it’s a lot scarier when someone is building you a narrative, and you are building that up in your own head,” Olivieri said.
Sound and lighting effects, created by Sound Designer Emma Walz and Lighting Designer Matt Stetler, play a major role in the show.
“The lighting and sound effects have such a strong impact that they are characters within the show themselves,” Olivieri said.
Sunday, October 22
Mesa Encore Theatre Black Box Theatre, 933 E. Main St., Mesa
$15 general admission
Phoenix Theatre’s Production of Hedwig and the Angry Inch
Some shows are ultimately forgettable, described with throwaway phrases like “It was a good show.” Hedwig and the Angry Inch doesn’t fall into this category.
Whether they love it or hate it, audiences remember the show.
Phoenix Theatre will produce the cult classic through Nov. 12.
In the show, gender-bending performer Hedwig, played by actor Caleb Reese, shares the funny, sad and introspective story of her life. Audiences learn about her time growing up in Germany and her experiences since immigrating to the United States.
Her past relationships, especially with rock singer Tommy Gnosis and husband Yitzhak, play a central role in the story.
The show features a number of well-known songs, including The Origin of Love, Angry Inch, Wicked Little Town and Exquisite Corpse.
In the Phoenix Theatre production, Alyssa Chiarello plays Yitzhak; Michelle Chin, the drummer; Mark 4Man, the conductor and piano player; Daniel Johnson and Cullen Law, guitarists; Lauren Mckay, the bass player and Miles Plan, the musical director and pianist.
The stage is set up as intimate concert venue, with tables and chairs in front and a bar on one side. This creates the atmosphere of being at a rock show.
During the show, Hedwig often interacts with members of the crowd.
Audience members who arrive early are treated to a pre-show with live rock music.
Through November 12.
8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 3 p.m. Sundays. Special performances on November 12 at 7:30 p.m.
Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix.
Tickets start at $29.
Scorpius Dance Theatre’s Production of A Vampire Tale
With its dark, comedic and sensual production A Vampire Tale, known as the “Nutcracker of Halloween,” Scorpius Dance Theatre has brought something unique to Halloween for the last 14 years.
This year, the dance company will produce its vampire-themed saga on two weekends, Oct. 26 to 28 and Nov. 2 to 4, at the Phoenix Theatre’s Hardes Theatre.
The show, which incorporates modern dance and aerial movement, tells the story of an Innocent lured into a coven of vampires, run by the Vampire Queen and Vampire King.
Nicole Olson has played the Vampire Queen throughout the show’s 14-year run, and Gavin Sisson is only the second Vampire King.
The production features 17 dancers and aerialists, who are brought to life as vampires through their movements, costuming and makeup.
For the second year, Martha Hernandez will take on the role of the Innocent, and Louis Farber will play the narrator of the show, known as the Strange Man.
This year on Halloween, the company will hold The Battle of Two Queens, a special fundraiser benefiting the company. During the event, audiences will be treated to a parody of the vampire tale with two queens, the Vampire Queen and Gavin Sisson’s drag alter-ego Stella Prince, battling for supremacy.
Through November 4.
7:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Sundays.
Hardes Theatre, Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd., Phoenix.
Tickets start at $25.
A Tale of Two Queens Fundraiser.
Tuesday, October 31.
Phoenix Theatre, 100 E. McDowell Rd.
$50 per person.