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Storytelling @ Riley’s Presents: Masks

October 25th, 2014

masksThis month at Riley’s we’ll be telling stories about masks. Think Halloween, theatre, deception, and the roles people play in everyday life. The theme is open to a variety of interpretations, and we’re looking forward to hearing yours.

If your interested in sharing a story, you can let us know by posting to our event page or signing up at Riley’s on the night of the event, October 28. We’re interested in told stories running approximately ten minutes, similar to the stories featured on Moth Radio.

Michael McBurney

Our featured guest this evening are members of The Throughline Theatre, storytellers who enthralled a standing-room audience back in June with their Stories from the Theatre.

Among the returning storytellers is Michael McBurney, whose previous story, “The Best Dr. Pepper I Ever Had,” made for one of this year’s stand-out story performances. An audio of that performance is available at a previous blog post and can be accessed by clicking here.

Michael is currently starring in Throughline’s The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. His previous shows with Throughline include Saving the World, Arsenic and Old Lace, and August: Osage County. He has also worked  with Alarum Theatre, the Duquesne Red Masquers and the Summer Company at Duquesne. We’re excited to have him back.

Lazel LeroyHazel Leroy studied Theatre History, Literature, & Criticism at University of Pittsburgh. She lives in Pittsburgh and currently teaches at Point Park University Conservatory of Performing Arts. Active in the city’s theatre scene, she has added her talents to a number of Throughline Theatre productions, among them the recent world premier of C. S. Wyatt’s A New Death.

In her previous appearance at Riley’s, Hezel shared a story about a George Bernard Shaw production that suffered (or perhaps benefited) from a major prop malfunction. You can year that story by clicking on the player below, and you can hear Hazel’s new story by attending this month’s Storytelling Night.

Pat HeadshotAlso joining us will be Patrick Conner, a member of the Board of Throughline Theatre Company who has served the company as both an actor and dramaturg for various productions over the past few years.  He graduated from the University of Maryland at College Park with a degree in English Literature, and served as a professor at West Virginia University for 34 years before his retirement in 2010.

This month will mark Patrick’s Storytelling Night debut, and we’re delighted to be welcoming him aboard.

Throughline TheatreIf all of this wasn’t inducement enough to attend this month’s Storytelling Night @ Riley’s, the evening will also feature two story monologues from Throughline’s current production, The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. The monologues will be presented off-book (in the tradition of great storytelling), and each will center on the story of Judas Iscariot, who wore one of the most deceptive masks of all. The storyrtellers for this segment will be Amy Portenlanger and Kevin H. Moore.

Amy Portlenlanger

Amy Portenlanger has performed in six mainstage production with Throughline,among them August Osage County, The Night Thoreau Spent in Jail, and Arsenic and Old Lace. She currently plays the roles of Gloria and Mother Teresa in The Last Days of Judas Iscariot.

She has also performed with several other companies around Pittsburgh, including The Cabaret at Theater Square, South Park Theater, Terra Nova, The Steel City Improv Theater, and The New Hazlett.

Kevin MooreKevin H. Moore earned his BA in Acting and BSW in Social Work from Slippery Rock University. He is currently a part of Saltworks Theater’s touring company and has performed with Pittsburgh Classic Players and Slippery Rock/Edinburgh Festival Fringe. His performance as two of the characters in Iscariot marks his debut with Throughline. Likewise, this will be his first appearance at Riley’s.

At the close of this month’s event, we will be giving away three pairs of tickets to The Last Days of Judas Iscariot. For a chance to win, all you need to do is be there. It’s our way of thanking you for supporting one of the city’s most exiting storytelling venues .

Riley’s Pour House is located at 215 East Main Street in Carnegie. Sign-ups begin at 7:15. Stories begin at 8:00 and continue until 9:30 (or until the last story’s told). Masks are optional.

Hope to see you there! Until then, scop on!

 

Hallowen: Magic, Mystery & the Macabre Trick or Treating with Friends

September 8th, 2013

HalloweenMagicMysMacabre-500Halloween comes early this year, with the September release of Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre – another terrific anthology from award-winning editor Paula Guran and the good people at Prime Books.

The book is a follow up to Paula’s 2011 anthology Halloween, which featured 33 classic reprints by the likes of Ray Bradbury, H. P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and F. Paul Wilson. It also featured a thoughtful essay about the origins and traditions of Halloween, which you can read here.

Unlike its predecessor, the new book features all-new Halloween-themed stories. I’ve just finished reading my copy, and it’s a terrific book – perfect material for a cool autumn night.

scent-of-magicAmong the standouts is “The Halloween Men,” a horror story by my good friend Maria V. Snyder, a writer more often associated with romantic fantasy than horror fiction. She and I currently serve as residency writers in the Writing Popular Fiction program at Seton Hill University, and at this summer’s residency she attributed her foray into the macabre to hanging out with Michael A. Arnzen and me. She was being generous, of course. But regardless of how the story came to be, it’s a terrific read. Set in a strange world where the wearing of masks is enforced by mysterious men in black robes, “The Halloween Men” displays the kind of spare yet fully-realized fantasy that has made Maria one of the best fantasy writers working today. If you haven’t discovered her yet, consider checking out her books Scent of Magic, Poison Study, Touch of Power, and all the other titles that you can read about at MariaVSnyder.com. Good reading awaits.

TimeAnother standout story is “All Souls Day” by Barbara Roden, who in recent years has established herself as one of the contemporary masters of short fiction. Publishers Weekly, in a review of her collection Northwest Passages, refers to her work as “deftly executed tales of subtle horror,” and her story in this collection continues that tradition. Barbara is also a multi-award winning editor who, along with her husband Christopher Roden, has been running critically acclaimed Ash-Tree Press since its inception in 1994. I first met Barbara and Christopher at World Fantasy 2007, and we’ve been good friends ever since, getting together at the major conventions at least once or twice a year. In 2010 they edited and published This Way to Egress, the definitive collection of my horror stories.

Jack Pumpkinhead by William Wallace DenslowHalloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre also features terrific new stories by Laird Barron, Laura Bickle, Jay Caselberg, Brenda Cooper, Brian Hodge, Stephen Graham Jones, Caitlín R. Kiernan, Nancy Kilpatrick, Jonathan Maberry, Norman Partridge, John Shirley, Steve Rasnic Tem & Melanie Tem, Carrie Vaughn, A.C. Wise, and Chelsea Quinn Yarbro – some of the modern masters of magic, mystery, and the macabre.

Oh yes, it also contains one of my stories – a new tale of physiological horror titled “Pumpkin Head Escapes.” And since the book releases this week, my friends and I get to do some early trick-or-treating.

Care to join us?

Image Credits:

Halloween: Magic, Mystery, and the Macabre,  Prime Books 2013. Scent of Magic, Harlequin 2013. Northwest Passages, Prime Books 2010. Jack Pumpkin Head, illustration detail by William Wallace Dinslow from L. Frank Baum’s The Road to Oz (1909).