Every October 26th at the Quirk Hotel, someone gets murdered. That was the premise of this year’s Dead Gallery, EMU Theatre’s annual Halloween show. This year the show was written by EMU senior Tyler Calhoun, the play presented vignettes of how different people were murdered at the hotel. Performances ran every twenty minutes for four hours.
Before the show, as patrons walked into the Quirk lobby, they were greeted and entertained by assorted characters (a doorman, a fortune teller, and others). The characters set the mood for the strange and spooky show.
Then, the action moved up the stairs into Quirk’s upper lobby, where a pre-show scene was staged. and after the audience was ushered into the lab theatre, where the rest of the play commenced.
The set was simple, with a projector screen hanging as a sort of backdrop, upon which fake newspaper articles describing each murder were shown. There were few props, a short brick wall in the back, a table and some chairs, and a few black wooden boxes set up to look like a bed. The three people running lights and sound were seated on the side of the set, and had duct tape placed over their mouths, which added to the scary ambiance of the room even before the action started.
Then the vignettes began: a young woman forced to starve to death behind a wall in the hotel, kept company only by her murdered fiancé, a prostitute murdered by a man posing as a journalist, and a hotel worker who is murdered because she won’t help carry out any of the other murders, and other short scenes. The intimate space of the lab theatre made the audience feel like they were right in the middle of the action.
“I thought it was a really cool thing for me to do because I love scaring people, but I don't like being scared personally”, she Jackie Marlett, a freshman and actress in the production, her first at EMU.