The Syracuse Stage is taking its own spin on the psychological horror with its new production of “The Turn of the Screw,” based a story by Henry James. The story focuses on a governess and two young children on an English estate (old, practically empty, remote house? Scary things never happen there). The governess begins to see ghosts on the grounds, which of course leads to chaos and terror running rampant throughout the house.
I’m usually not one for horror films (mostly because I just can’t sit through that much bad acting in such a short period of time), but theater is often different. Without tacky special effects and embarrassingly bad plots, horror on stage has a much larger chance of surviving without making the audience cringe (from awkwardness–hopefully they’ll cringe from fear). Especially with the plot written by a respected writer, instead of an overpaid Hollywood screenwriting machine, “The Turn of the Screw” should be a sophisticated take on an oftentimes unsophisticated genre.
One interesting addition to “The Turn of the Screw” is the pre-show talk with a cast member. The talks will be held an hour before every show, and a cast member will divulge his or her insights and thoughts about the show. As a former actor myself, any opportunity to talk to cast members and get an insider’s opinion on a show is always appreciated.
The show, playing at the Storch Theatre, is opening the stage’s 39th season, and is showing now through October 16. Tickets are available online at the Syracuse Stage website.