Dustin Tucker knew he had to outdo himself if he was going to bring back “Haunting Hour,” a thriller-themed evening of theater. Last year’s debut production was a big hit, selling out and chilling members of the audience with fright and suspense.
Tucker has assembled an all-star creative team for “Haunting Hour 2.0” in the Portland Stage Studio Theater, which opens Wednesday and continues through Nov. 3. It’s an evening of mostly live theater, with a series of short plays that are designed to scare and shock. Tucker, an actor and director, curated the material and pulled together all the players for this 90-minute show.
“Haunting Hour 2.0” features stories by the writers Monica Wood, Joe Hill, Callie Kimball, Rick Hautala, Ian Carlsen and the dean of all Maine writers, the estimable Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.
Performers include Joe Bearor, Hannah Daly, Bridgette Loraine, Erik Moody, Antonio Hernandez and Maine Poetry Out Loud champion Allan Monga. Monga appears on video. He recorded the Longfellow poem “Haunted Houses” at Evergreen Cemetery.
Last year, Tucker directed the whole show. This year, he’s directing one of the short plays and recruited Sally Wood, Shannon Wade, Todd Brian Backus and Moira Driscoll to direct one each.
“Each play stands on its own,” Tucker said. “It’s like sitting through a 90-minute roller coaster of short stories. It goes from very dark and creepy to laugh-out-loud funny but also creepy.”
The evening will have a bit of a vintage television theme. Tucker said it would feel ” ‘Twilight Zone-esque’ with a lot of multimedia stuff. There are lots of really cool, weird commercials out there from the ’50s and ’60s and kids shows. I watch them now and I ask, ‘How was this OK?’ They’re pretty creepy.”
The commercials will be used between the shows, tying everything together and creating a seamless evening of thrillers.
WHEN: 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24 through Sunday and Oct. 30 to Nov. 3
WHERE: Portland Stage Studio Theater, 25A Forest Ave., Portland
TICKETS & INFO: $18; (207) 774-0465 or portlandstage.org
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