Any fan of horror movies will recognize the cliches in Slasher, the play by Allison Moore, opening for a run at the Toledo Rep on Friday, October 26. A mad killer stalks a group of kids. The party eventually dwindles down to a single person fighting for her life.
But Slasher has more to say, not just about the horror genre, but also about the people who create it, reveals director Nancy Wright.
“It’s a horror-comedy, and it’s a send-up of slasher-type movies, like Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” Wright said.
“The premise is that a very naive young woman, who is pretty desperate for money, is given an opportunity to star in a very low-budget horror film, which is being filmed in her hometown of Austin, Texas. Her mother, a very angry feminist who is in a wheelchair because of a previous encounter with this sleazy director guy, sets out to stop the filming of the movie, and she will stop at nothing,” explains Wright. The end result is a show that finds laughs and satire. No one is safe from playwright Moore’s gaze, and everyone is a ridiculed.
“It’s an absolutely equal opportunity parody. It makes fun of everybody. It makes fun of the daughter for being so naive, it makes fun of the mother for being so narrow in her focus, her single-minded determination that the world is unfair to women. It makes fun of this director who thinks he can take advantage of women,” Wright said.
Wright, who has loved both comedy and horror her whole life, identifies with the play. “I’m a lifelong fan of regular, serious, well-made horror movies,” Wright said. “Less so the ones that are really gory. But I have to say, I watched Texas Chainsaw Massacre again before I agreed to direct this, just to see if I could appreciate the genius behind that kind of gory horror movie. And you know, I understand why that became an iconic horror movie.”
Slasher is satire, which Wright said means she and her cast are working to make each individual a bit larger than life— while feeling like a human being.
“We want these characters to seem real, because you have to buy into their story. But you have to realize as you’re watching this play that these characters are not three-dimensional,” she said.
“We’re playing with some stereotypes here, and the actors are definitely finding all the nuance they can to make sure they keep characters interesting.”
Wright said she hopes area audiences come away from Slasher with a few laughs at the expense of her characters and of a genre of film that is so appropriate for the season. “I hope they have unforgettable Halloween entertainment, here,” she said. “I feel like we’re adding to the landscape of entertainment for what is a favorite holiday.”
$20, general | $18, seniors.
October 26-28 & November 1-4pm
8pm, Friday-Saturday | 2:30pm, Sunday.
The Toledo Rep, 16 10th St.,
419-243-9277 | toledorep.org