"Stop your complainin’, shut your mouth hole, and just give it a dang try."
~ My Dad
At The Dark Woods, we take the creative elements of design, character development, costuming, makeup, and improv…..we put them all into a huge stew pot; let ‘em simmer; we stir, and we let it all steep until almost boiling. And right at THAT point, is the moment we serve our precious concoction to our valued guests, one heaping spoonful at a time, breath-fully blowing the heat from each serving if the portage is too hot
The above paragraph is a metaphor. We do not make, serve, or concoct stew at The Dark Woods.
It simply describes how we get our cast involved, indulged, and in love with the entire process and our entire show.
When presented with the idea of haunt acting, many people start out by replying, “I don’t think I’ll be good at that.” “I don’t think I can be scary.”
“I don’t like raw beets.”
Almost 9.3 times out of 11, we prove them wrong. ANYONE can be a haunter. ANYONE can learn the ‘art’ of ‘being creepy’. ANYONE can learn to love raw beets (with enough flavorful condiments and eyes-closed courage).
And you may be asking, “why is it 9.3 times out of 11? How can you have 9.3 people?”
Superb question. The answer: we suck at fractions and decimalationalism (not a word, but still impressive and you know it).
With an open mind, a lil’ creativity, and a willingness to learn, anyone can step foot into their own original character for a few hours a
night, and step out of the darkness where no one knows their true identity. Haunt actors learn what works, and they accept what doesn’t. Most of all, they strive to provide something to each guest and every interaction: entertainment. Maybe their character’s goal is to make guests scream, whimper, laugh or even all three. Whatever their goal, they know people are anxious to be anxious, and their character can live and breathe in a setting that is safe and equally creepy.
In this day and age where identity can be anything to anyone, why not express and celebrate what some may consider the “childish act” (not my words, theirs) of dressing up for the Halloween season?! I believe now more than ever, many people long to express themselves; to be creative; to be accepted as they are, and in our unique case, what our guests hope they are not as they emerge from that dark space.
Being a haunter can provide an oftentimes unexpected liberation from the everyday lifestyle. Being responsible for a stranger’s terrified reaction provides that healthy dose of adrenaline that makes any haunter want to do it again (and again ((and again)) (((and again)))....fade echoed audio out.
Written by Willard from The Dark Woods at Trombly Gardens, Milford, NH