THE STORIES: The first play, A WITCH’S BREW, takes place in the darkened basement of a remote farmhouse, where Daed, his sister Jule, and her boyfriend Tucker, nervously explore the macabre secrets of the shallow graves they believe to be there. Performed in semi-darkness, the play makes eloquent use of the powerful—and frightening—imagery of words to build to its shocking and terrifying denouement. In the second play, A GHOST STORY, two hikers, Oswald and Hackett, seek shelter from a winter blizzard in an isolated Maine cabin. They are joined by a mysterious girl, Soma, who disclaims any knowledge of who might have laid the fire in the hearth or who owns the knapsack that rests in the corner. To while away the time the three tell each other ghost stories at first vividly fanciful and then suddenly disquieting as the imagined becomes real in the blood-curdling climax. In the final play, A GOTHIC TALE, a woman obsessed by the idea of being loved keeps a man prisoner in the tower of an island mansion. In a succession of scenes the woman, Eliza, and her manservant visit the prisoner, Isaac, warning him that, unless he confesses his love for Eliza, he will die. Finally, just before he expires from starvation, Isaac capitulates—whereupon a large cupboard is opened to reveal the ghoulish remains of other men who have preceded him to this sinister place.
Designed as an integrated program, these three studies in the eerie and the sinister explore the spine-tingling possibilities of storytelling on stage. Written by the author of the enormously successful Agnes of God, they are, in a sense, “ghost plays” in which the distinction between the natural and the unnatural, the real and the imagined, is deftly challenged with chilling inventiveness and resourceful theatricality.