‘Slasher’ satirizes scary movies stereotypes

By Larissa Gula

If you go to a movie theater, you’ll get one horror film. If you go to Pitt Repertory Theatre’s play “Slasher” you’ll see the guts of many of horror films splattered onto the stage. “Slasher”

Oct. 29 – Nov. 7

Directed By Holly Thuma

Charity Randall Theatre (Stephen Foster Memorial)

$20-$25, $10 for students

www.play.pitt.edu or call 412-624-PLAY

30 tickets available for opening night through Pitt Arts, available first come, first serve

If you go to a movie theater, you’ll get one horror film. If you go to Pitt Repertory Theatre’s play “Slasher” you’ll see the guts of many of horror films splattered onto the stage.

“Slasher” takes a satirical twist on scary movie clichés. The stereotypical last girl standing has to face her fears after meeting with a cast of archetypes along the way, the villain is overplayed and melodramatic and there is enough fake blood to satisfy any horror flick’s gore quota.

The show by Allison Moore will take over the Charity Randall Theater in the Stephen Foster Memorial and literally bring the audience on stage, up close and personal with the bloody effects and the story, according to director Holly Thuma.

The play is not meant to parody specific movies so much as the genre as a whole, even though it specifically references a couple of films, including “Scream.”

“Basically, it’s about a young woman living in a single-mother home,” Thuma said about the show. “The mother is a raging feminist, furiously angry. The young woman is cast into a grade-B horror film by a director in town trying to make the film. He puts the ‘low’ in low budget, and is a recovering sexaholic and alcoholic. As she begins to work on the film her life becomes a horror film.”

When making the stage for “Slasher,” Thuma opted to make the theater represent a film set. The crew uses the set-up and lighting to give the entire theater a haunted house feeling in addition to making the audience feel as if they’re on a movie set with the main character.

The fake blood is rampant, but is supposed to play into the humor, Thuma said. This show is meant to be a satire, which means “Slasher” is a commentary as well as entertainment.

“Plays may just be entertaining, but some plays have meaning and are relevant to our lives,” Thuma said. “We usually try to pick a play with social, political or spiritual meaning and value. So this one has entertainment and is funny, but it bites.”

Deirdre O’Rourke, a Pitt graduate student and dramaturg for “Slasher,” assists in the look and feel of the show. She’s also examined the cultural implications the show has.

“There’s a lot of talk in this about the Texas Chainsaw Massacre, the slasher film stereotype and [the playwright] noticed an eroticization of females in culture,” O’Rourke said. “She wanted to explore these issues and how women are supposed to have autonomy in this culture. She wanted to tackle the issues in a fun, theatrical way.”

O’Rourke set up a discussion set to take place after the Nov. 7 show at 2 p.m. The audience will have a chance to join in a panel discussion put on by Pitt professors. The discussion brings people in from women’s studies and sociology, with the intention of discussing questions about feminism in history and today, especially within the context of the play.

“I think the play itself is in-depth, and we didn’t want that lost,” O’Rourke said. “It’s not to compliment the fun with something educational. The questions are there and it’s part of the fun. It’s purposely left the questions in the open because we all have a stake in the answer to them.”

The play itself is “high energy, fast paced, and theatrical” but doesn’t offer any definitive answers, O’Rourke said.

“I think it’s right after we have the experience we should think about what’s going on,” she said of the panel discussion. “It’s not as though we are placing these things on top of the play. They’re the heart of the play. Anyone who watches it will identify the connections.”

The aim overall is to speak to younger women specifically and urge them to examine themselves in another way.

“It’s our culture, right?” O’Rourke said.