Photograph courtesy of Cardinal Stage Company

Those who wear costumes will get into Halloween night screenings of the Rocky Horror Picture Show for discounted prices. Sponsored by the Cardinal Stage Company, Rocky Horror is one of multiple Halloween-related shows in town this month.

If you want a holiday that's a perfect fit for the performing arts, you want Halloween. The costuming, the surprises, the begging for candy -- it all fits. So, if you're looking for something to scare you this October, or something to make you laugh, here are two plays and a film you might be interested in.

The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

The Victorian cautionary tale of a man caught between his better nature and his repressed inward desires is getting a new treatment in the Monroe County Civic Theatre's production, as director Russell McGee lays some modern elements on top of the classic tale. "I've had a fascination with Jekyll and Hyde for a long time," McGee says.

One change is that characters wear masks representing their innermost selves. What could be more Halloween than that? Another is that Jekyll and Hyde sometimes share the stage with one another, like Gollum's arguments with himself in Peter Jackson's Lord of the Rings. Hyde will try to convince Jekyll to do something, or vice versa. It's all in the doctor's head, of course; the other characters don't notice a thing.

But the biggest change is some Halloween-style gender-bending: the slightly nerdy Dr. Jekyll (Ryan Powell), transforms into a Hyde played fiercely by a woman, Karynne Korbacher. Some of the female actors are pay male characters, too. The masks and the gender swapping undermines some of the black and white morals of the original, and suggests that the roles of Jekyll and Hyde might not be that separate after all.

"If you have those darker places in your life, allow yourself this one evening to be open to the possibility of exploring that baser nature," McGee says. More of a psychological drama than a straight-out horror play,
might continue induce shivers long after the curtain has fallen.

If you go: Jekyll and Hyde runs Oct. 23, 24, 29, 30, and Nov. 5 and 6 at 7:00 p.m. at The Cinemat in Bloomington; admission is $5 at the door. Jekyll and Hyde will also be performed at Merry Mac Players in Martinsville Oct. 26 and 27 and Nov. 2 and 3 at 8:00 p.m. Tickets to the Martinsville performances are $10 in advance or $12. There is also a free showing at the Owen County Public Library at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 8. Donations will be accepted. For more information, visit

Photograph courtesy of Cardinal Stage Company


Those looking for a little comedy mixed in with their frights might want to check out Cardinal Stage Company's upcoming Shocktoberfest. The show is a collection of five short pieces, with a few surprises, says Katie Becker, Cardinal's administrative assistant. But she won't say what the surprises are.

The show opens with a scene from Shakespeare's dark and violent Titus Andronicus. Next, former Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Henry Woronicz reads a different Edgar Allen Poe story every show. There's a song from Steven Sondheim's Sweeney Todd, and finally a big blood and guts show play, "A Crime in a Madhouse."

Shocktoberfest is performed in the tiny Rose Firebay at the Waldron Arts Center. The small space means that the audience will be right up on the action -- for good or for bad. Cardinal has brought in Arthur Culliper just to coordinate the gore in the final piece. "It's kind of tight, and it's kind of creepy. Which is perfect for this, because the audience is going be up close and get to see the gore," Becker says.

Each night features two performances, on at 7:30 p.m. and one at 10:00 p.m. If your Halloween plans include spirits of an intoxicating sort, Becker says, You can go out to the bar and then come to the show, or go out to dinner first, if you don't drink."

If you go: Shocktoberfest runs Oct. 19, 20, 25, 26, 27 at 7:30 and 10:00 p.m. in the Rose Firebay at the John Walron Arts Center. Tickets are $18 for adults, $15 for seniors and $12 for students. Tickets can be purchased at the Sunrise Box Office on Kirkwood, by calling (812) 323-3020, at Bloomingfoods East and Near West and online at

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Cardinal Stage Company is also hosting two fundraiser screenings of the cult classic Rocky Horror Picture Show on Halloween night. There are two screenings on Halloween night. "It's ridiculous fun. There are some fabulous costumes going on," Becker says.

Rocky Horror screenings expand the movie with elaborate audience-participation rituals. For those not in the know, "de-virginizations" (instructions for Rocky Horror newbies) precede each showing. "Prop kits" containing all the necessary items for a Rocky Horror show will also be for sale.

Wearing a costume gets you in at a discount rate. A floor show featuring a costume contest also precedes each show. "The costume can be whatever you want," Becker says; it's not just limited to Rocky Horror characters. "Anything goes." Those too old for trick or treating can help themselves to a cash bar.

Becker urges people thinking of attending to purchase tickets in advance to avoid the long lines that have formed down the street in the past.

If you go: The Rocky Horror Picture Show starts at 7:30 and 11:00 p.m. at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater. "De-virginizations" start at 7:00 and 10:30 p.m. Admission is $13 or $9 with a costume. A pass for both screenings is $14. Tickets are available at the Sunrise Box Office or online at

Jesse Darland can be reached at