|Posted by anonymous on June 28, 2011 at 12:05 PM|
“The history of the horror film is essentially a history of anxiety in the twentieth century. In the way that fairytales, folktales and gothic romances articulated the fears of the ‘old’ world, the contemporary horror film has defined and illustrated the phobias of a ‘new’ world characterized by a rational of industrial, technological and economic determinism” (Wells, The Horror Genre: From Beelzebub to Blair Witch, 2000).
The main reason we have selected Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa’s The Weird as our first production stems from our mission statement. As a company, 12 Peers Theater is interested in exploring modern myth. Joseph Campbell has suggested on many occasions that “myths are public dreams, dreams are private myths”. I believe that we are searching for rites of passage and modern myth. More so, I believe that we are searching for a positive cultural identity.
Currently, our modern rites of passage are blow-out 16th birthday parties; and our idols and role models are intoxicated celebrities. Gone are the days of the white hat cowboy, showing us a how to stand up for what is right. Just because those days have passed and popular culture has deteriorated our sense of identity, doesn’t mean that we don’t look elsewhere.
In his poetics, Aristotle speaks of catharsis. Exercising pity and fear is a primary function of drama, from its earliest beginnings. I believe that the purest form of contemporary myth exists in the genre of horror. Nowhere else are good and evil, as well as “right” behavior examined so clearly. Also it arouses both pity and certainly, fear in the viewer. It lets us honestly feel the rush of peril without having to engage in less-than-safe behaviors. And just like the Greeks, most of the violence in The Weird happens off-stage.
There is a tendency to look upon horror, not as an expression of catharsis and modern myth, but as gratuitous violence and negativity. It is our goal in this production of The Weird by Roberto Aguirre-Sacasa to show that horror can be used as a tool for teaching, cultural identity, as well as catharsis, not to mention a way to examine the collective fears of our society.