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Old Darkness, New Age

April 10, 2013

Grimm_Nights_Vol_1_Hollywood_600-80_FINALGrimm Nights Vol. 1: Hollywood darkness revisited, with a modern twist. Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group has tackled classic Faerie Tales, placing them in the middle of modern Hollywood. The lessons remain the same, yet different. Seen though the lens of the modern world.

The show opens with David Kaufman serving as a type of Bard. Weaving songs that tie the lessons of one vignette to the next. Using comical verse, and costume David adds a dark yet somehow light hearted tone to the aphotic messages were are being treated to. Each time the lights would cut you David would appear as a guide through the tales. He is a welcome touch stone throughout your journey, and at times a needed one.GrimmNightsVol1Hollywood_PIC_6

Grimm Nights is comprised of five vignettes Willful Child (By Adam Neubauer, directed by Angelia Weitzman) tells the tale of Tori (Sascha Lorren). A child pop star who will not listen to her mother. Only after her death and unnatural resurrection does she heed her mother’s commands. Then only as a mindless zombie. Using a pop star is the perfect analogy for a willful child in the original Faerie Tale. How many times have we seen pop stars lives turn sour on the nightly news.

Louve’s Coeur (By Sebastian Muñoz, directed by Jana Wimer) better known as Little Red Riding Hood, shows us the dangers of the modern world. Red (José Luis Córdoba) is lost in the city with an important package. When Louve (Nicole Fabbri) happens upon him. They struggle, allowing Red a temporary reprieve only to be done in by Gramps (Guy De Lancey). Reversing the gender roles, as well as having Gramps betray Red serve to show how dangerous our modern world is. The wolves might not be disguised as our friends, they might actually be our friends.

GrimmNightsVol1Hollywood_PIC_22Death’s Messengers (by Samantha Levenshus, directed by Adam Neubauer) shows death in a more predatory light. Death (Sascha Lorren) waits near street corners to be attacked hoping a concerned citizen will help. Once touched you are marked for death and your days are numbered. This marks a departure from the traditional non menacing, yet inevitable roll of Death. In this rendition Death is a villain stalking the night. The effect is made even more stark portrayed by Sascha, her innocent demeanor makes a predatory Death all the more frightning. Perhaps times have changed, and we are no longer deserving of a peaceful Death.

The Devil and His Grandmother (by Matt DeNoto, directed by Sebastian Muñoz), shows us the dangers of cheating the Devil (Guy De Lancey). Hansel Und Gretel (by Vanessa Cate, directed by Samantha Levenshus) is full on zingy one liner after another indicting Hollywood/modern culture. It’s alwayse a pleasure to see anything written by Vanessa. Her humor is snarky enough to insult you and make you laugh at the same time. A rare talent in any writer.GrimmNightsVol1Hollywood_PIC_16

At its core the Grimm Faerie Tales are subjective; you might not take away the same lessons I did and that’s okay. The renditions put forth by Zombie Joe’s Underground Theatre Group hold true to this subjective theme. It’s difficult to write something, especially adapt something already in existence and not force your own views upon it. All writers add their own personality and their own perspective on their subject. A good writer does so, and still leaves room for an individual to take something personal away. These vignettes excelled at that.

Whether you’re familiar with the works of the Brothers Grimm, or not you will find something to connect to in one of these vignettes.

Grimm Nights Vol. 1: Hollywood runs Sundays at 7pm through May 5th.

For more information visit:

All Photo Credit: Jana Wimer

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