Oklahoma City will get its first taste of Grand Guignol theater when the Reduxion Theatre Company opens its 2012–13 “Revolution” season with Night of Grand Guignol on October 5. Then, a more traditional theatrical character associated with horror, Shakespeare’s Richard III, takes to the Broadway Theater stage in November, before the company turns a page to lightness with Love’s Labour’s Lost in time for Valentine’s Day and closes out its season with an adaptation of Henry Fielding’s The History of Tom Jones in May.
Grand Guignol (pronounced grahn gee-nyawl) theatre has roots in turn-of-the-20th-century French theatre, with themes exploring horror, sensationalism and seduction, often breaching common sensibilities. Grand Guignol plays lost popularity after World War II, but have recently experienced revivals in cosmopolitan cities such as London and Washington, D.C.
“Oklahoma City audiences are as progressive as any major city's audiences and they're always thirsty for ground-breaking theatre. We think they're ready to experience Grand Guignol,” Tyler Woods, Reduxion's executive artistic director, said in a press release. “Reduxion strives to present the classics in fresh ways, and with this collection of classic French horror and camp, we are presenting a style of theatre that, to our knowledge, has never before been seen in OKC. This October, Reduxion brings Grand Guignol to the cultural doorstep of OKC and it is truly a thrill not to be missed.”
Featuring several vignettes per show, Grand Guignol performances cover such topics as adultery, perceptions of beauty, mental disorder, love, and pain. Reduxion plans an entertaining menu of "The Final Kiss," "Jack," "The Light House," "Guillotine," "Doing the Deed," "The System of Dr. Tarr and Mr. Feather," and "Kiss of Blood," as well as a few surprises. Paying homage to original Grand Guignol performances, Reduxion's adaptations include gory special effects, violence, sexuality, and risqué antics.
“We're excited to present this provocative art form to Oklahoma City for the very first time,” Tim Berg, Night of Grand Guignol’s director said in the press release. “Audiences will be treated to questions about the human condition they may never have considered. Boundaries will be tested and possibly broken. Audience members should expect a night of fascination and horror, taking place just an arm's length away.”
Night of Grand Guignol will run Fridays and Saturday evenings, October 5–27, with Friday shows differing from Saturday shows. Reduxion recommends attending a Friday and a Saturday performance in order to experience all seven vignettes. Performances include adult themes and are intended for audience members 18 and older.
Grand Guignol serves as the special “Second Stage” opener for Reduxion's fifth season, titled “Revolution.” Check out Bard on the Boards for the season’s timeline. Tickets are $18 for adults and $15 for students, seniors, and military with I.D. Showtimes are 8 p.m., with a special midnight performance. Tickets are available for purchase online at reduxiontheatre.com or at the door, before each performance.
September 20, 2012