Wandering Aesthetics Theatre hosts ‘Boogers, Witches and Haints’ through Aug. 1
Welcome to the Cuckoo’s Nest, a make-believe hostel where anything can happen. “Boogers, Witches, and Haints: Spooky Stories from Appalachia” is the end product of a long walk full of storytelling and adventure-gathering along the Appalachian Trail by Director Benjamin Rexroad and Actor Kyle Jozsa, from Wandering Aesthetics Theatre.
The play is currently showing inside the back room of the Standing Rock Cultural Arts Events gallery in Kent.
It is a room full of colorful yet disturbing artwork crowding inwards onto a small stage barely big enough for one man to move around in, flapping his arms, singing out loud, hearing voices from inside cups and waving a blanket around as if it were another person.
Across the floodlights, nearly three dozen people sat staring at an empty rocking chair, waiting. It was hot and stuffy, as if we were all inside cabin with only one door and no windows. This is the place where complicated stories can be laid bare.
Stories of boogeymen that come knocking and scratching at your bedposts, witches of all colors and creeds, and haints of places you would rather not venture into. Haints? What are haints? Well, they aren’t witches, and they aren’t boogeymen. They are what they are, and what they are is spooky.
It began as a light-hearted banter between Kyle and his audience, but it quickly and stealthily became a conversation among a cast of 14 men and women, three dogs, and a bee, and creatures only our minds could see. Not all the characters spoke at once, but a good many of them tried. Kyle’s one man show twisted and turned until every imagined cast member threw its shadow over the audience.
This was no campfire retelling of tired and overexposed ghost stories. Rather, it was as if we, the audience, were allowed to see inside the stories themselves, to hear and feel as the characters themselves heard and felt.
The fourth wall, that invisible barrier through which the audience watches the show, was broken time and time again by innkeepers, creatures, the narrator, and yes, even the studio lighting technician. (Excellent play of lights there Kix (Kirsten Nicole), clever, but not so clever as to be found out.)
The people in attendance ate it up, taking their places as one of the main characters in the story. A character that gasped and laughed, that pushed the actor to tell them more, and in one “too true to life” instance, to scream in a moment of sheer fright; the audience itself was complicit.
“Boogers, Witches, and Haints” is delightful, frightful and thoroughly enjoyable. There are three more performances of this particular show scheduled for Saturday July 25, Friday July 31 and Saturday Aug. 1. Each retelling will vary slightly, so don’t be afraid to watch it more than once.
Better hurry though because if you miss these three performances you will have to wait until Hallow’s Eve week in Akron to catch then again.
Standing Rock Cultural Arts Center is located at the North Water St Gallery, 300 N. Water St., Suite H, in Kent.
Tickets are $15 per person and are available online at www.BWHKent.brownpapertick