Archive for October, 2017

30
Oct
17

The Emperor’s Nocturne: A Tarot Story

Photo Oct 17, 12 06 43 PMMost people don’t know that I read Tarot. In fact, there was a time when I did it as a profession. I would regularly do private readings for individuals and public readings at festivals and corporate events. I would also read for myself every day by picking a card and accepting its message. Occasionally I would pick two cards. One for the masculine. One for the feminine. Sometimes a little more balance is required.

I had always been fascinated by the cards. I delved deeper into that world while I was living in Florida. I was dating a lovely witch at the time. She was the first to put a deck in my hands. She taught a variety of classes at the local Wiccan gathering spot. She encouraged me to take some classes with another teacher there that was quite gifted with Tarot and definitely had clairvoyant mojo going on. The woman was funny, flamboyant, and wise. I enjoyed every class I took with her. Especially her class in Storytelling with Tarot.

The object of this class was to sharpen one’s writing skills by randomly choosing cards from the deck and quickly writing something based on your immediate impressions. The first night of the class I purchased a goth deck. It was filled with beautiful dark images that spoke to me. The following day I grabbed a pad of paper and drove onto the beach at Daytona. I shuffled the deck thoroughly then closed my eyes and choose a card. It was The Emperor card. I quickly began to write.

Never before, or since, have I written something so quickly and clearly. I was proud of my work and presented it to the class that night. It was well received and I went on to pass the class with flying colors. I then put the piece in a drawer and there it stayed until several years later. I was just starting my career as a published author and was looking for short pieces that I could use to promote myself. I found the Emperor’s Nocturne again. I tweaked it a bit and posted it as a freebie on social media.

Within forty-five minutes of my first post I received a request from an independent publisher to include the long form poem in an anthology that was just about to be released. The print book was pairing the work of classic horror writers with the work of new emerging writers. When the book was released I found myself paired with Edgar Allan Poe and his poem Ligeia. I was honored. The book went on to become quite successful and was eventually nominated for a Bram Stoker award.

Every Halloween I think of the lovely witch, the goth card, and the dark poem. The Emperor’s Nocturne became the first published work that introduced me to the world at large as a writer. All from the mystery of a randomly chosen card. A card that speaks of responsibility, authority, and reason. It also speaks of new beginnings, the exploration of possibilities, and the belief of self-determination.

On this Samhain, this All Hallows Eve, as the days grow shorter and the nights grow colder, when the veil between this world and that is at its thinnest, and possibilities abound, I present to you the magic of The Emperor’s Nocturne.

I hope you enjoy and, oh yes, I wish for you a Happy Halloween!!

 

The stroke of midnight.

The reflection of moonlight.

The beckoning of the graveyard.

All these seemingly glorious things disturbed the Emperor this night.

Down below, in their bedchamber, the Empress played her pipe organ. Even the full rich tones extending from her fingers could not soothe him this night.

This was their ritual.

When she wanted him, truly wanted him, she would play and he would come.

Wherever he was, in whatever state his mind, he would hear her nocturne for him.

The organ’s music moaned past every hall, and through every room, until it reached his deepest, darkest places.

But not tonight.

Tonight she would have to wait.

Tonight the Emperor was full of longings. Three wicked longings, to be specific, for three wicked women.

He was searching for an answer to a questions best kept to himself.

It was only once a century or so that the Emperor found himself in this particular state.

Every once in a great while, he would doubt himself. The subject of this concern was always different, but the effect was the same.

Incapacitation.

This was never a good thing, and the less the others in his world knew about the matters on his mind, the better.

The Emperor ruled over a devoutly dark empire.

There was some light provided by the permanent tri-lunar eclipse that hung in the pitch black sky. It was just enough to bathe everything in shadows, and in those shadows his people flourished.

They walked on a carpet of blue-black leaves that covered the ground. The ever blooming, ever barren trees provided them places to lurk, and the constant, ever swirling wind carried their whispers.

Those whispers could not include his doubts.

That would make him vulnerable.

So tonight he did what he always did in times of trouble. He summoned his counselor, and while he waited he pondered deeply.

How could he love another, and another, and another, while still loving his Empress?

The three sisters had played with his black heart from the very beginning.

Together they were indomitable. His closest allies and confidantes. Separately, they were deadly Venuses to his appetites.

The first came to him one midnight.

In his chambers.

While the Empress slept at his side.

Her long black hair brushed his face as she put her finger to his lips to silence him. She mounted him, there in the royal bed and he was lost in her quiet passions.

The Empress never stirred.

The second came to him as he swam in the deep purple ocean that surrounded his empire.

He loved to see the blood-like waters cascading off of his pale flesh.

That night the light from the edge of the moons lit the naked form of what was to be his next wicked indiscretion.

She swam out to him and when she reached him, she put her finger to his lips to silence him.

She put her lips to his open mouth and began to provide him with the only air he would breathe as they both sank to the ocean floor.

The third visited him while he visited the graves of his parents.

He had killed them both in a rage, and they became the subject of a passed counselor’s counseling.

He was there to tell them that their deaths were just and justified.

When he finished, he saw her.

She was naked and lying on the cold granite slab that marked her own grave.

When he reached her, she reached out to him. She pulled him onto her, and as he slid inside her, she put a finger to her own lips.

To silence herself.

No matter what he did to her that night on that slab, no matter how hard he loved her, she never let out a sound.

But in her constantly open eyes, he saw his own lust. He saw own vicious passions reflected.

Midnight hair.

Moonlight skin.

Graveyard Eyes.

All separate passions, all separate indiscretions and yet, all the same.

Each of the sisters said the same as they walked away.

We are each one, and in each one, we are together forever, my love.

The organ music stopped, and there was silence.

Had the Empress heard his thoughts?

Had he been revealed?

In that moment, he heard his beloved’s voice in his mind.

They are each one, and in each one, we are together forever, my love.

The organ music began again.

The Emperor smiled.

His nocturnal goddess had left him a balm in his mind.

She left him the realization that all three sisters were a manifestation of her. His devoutly dark mistress had created them all for both their pleasures.

The Emperor sank deeply into his red velvet throne with the announcement that the counselor had arrived.

His problem was solved.

There were no indiscretions.

The women that haunted him were one and the same.

There was no need for a counselor.

The Emperor decided he would kill him, just as he had killed the others before him.

He would feed off of his black blood and leave the carcass for his pets to nosh.

The Emperor felt much better.

He was himself again.

 

Edward MedinaEdward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

 

27
Oct
17

Squeamish: My Review

Photo Oct 17, 12 36 10 PM

Alison Fraser in Squeamish (Photo by Maria Baranova)

Sharon is a basket case. She’s a New York City, Upper West Side psychoanalyst in need of her own New York City, Upper West Side psychiatrist. She’s off her meds. Has been for a while. She’s a recovering alcoholic. Desperately in need of a drink. Sharon’s barely keeping it together but she’s still capable of understanding her needs. She needs to see her shrink. Badly. Even though she hasn’t kept up with her visits she shows up at Dr. Schneider’s apartment in the dead of night. Once inside she takes a seat.

It’s there that we first find her. It’s there that she will remain. For the next ninety intermission-less moments we will be transfixed by her story. She will gloriously regale us, and the good doctor, with her recent adventures in the flat landscape of Lubbock, Texas. She will tell us about her nephew’s sudden death and the funeral that brought her to that hot and humid place. She’ll go on about her encounters with the locals. Her growing paranoia. Her expanding psychosis. Her continuing nightmares. Most importantly she will tell us of her hemophobia. Her fear of blood. The results of her relationship with the warm red fluid that keeps us all alive will drive the tale and keep you fixed and focused on Sharon’s every word.

Sharon has been falling asleep on her own patients as of late. Nightmares of her mother’s past suicide have been keeping her awake. She’s now at the same age when her mother did herself in. She’s also having nightmares about her cousin Eddie’s recent suicide. If it was indeed a suicide. Her trip is a journey to find the truth. Once in Texas the mystery thickens as Sharon meets Cara who has a thing for razor sharp knives and the taste of blood. Despite being squeamish about life’s vital juice for as long as she can remember, except for that one time she tasted her own and found it oddly satisfying and sexually gratifying, Sharon finds herself going along on Cara’s sanguinarian adventures. All this death and blood, and lack of booze and pills, and the smell of peppermint that permeates her cheap motel room leaves Sharon’s mind in a state of frenzied confusion. All of this leads to some very dark morbid choices on her part and therein lies the bloody rub.

A good horror story is one that draws you in closer and closer until the trap that’s been set begins to close in around you. The trappings of Squeamish are sublime. Every aspect of the All For One Theater production at the Beckett Theatre on Theatre Row are exquisite in their execution.

It is pitch black in the house when the show begins. In fact, before Squeamish even starts the usual warnings of cell phone activity is heightened by the additional caution that any light, even the light from your watch, will appear three-fold brighter should it suddenly reveals itself. Darkness is this productions friend. Everything in this world is black. The walls, the simple furnishings, the frame representing a large window overlooking the city, even Sharon is dressed entirely in black. Lighting designer Sarah Johnston, and her associate designer Sophie Talmadge Silleck, manage to use all this negative dark space to heighten the low-level lighting that they concentrate tightly on Sharon, her cup, table, and chair. There’s subtlety in design is at work here in an extremely elegant fashion.

A one-person show is primarily a dance between actor and author. A symbiosis of two storytellers at work. Here, once again, the production is in excellent hands. Playwright Aaron Mark has crafted a frightening journey that travels along a very tight wire. He balances humor and pathos with finesse. His characters are woven well and feel very real. Squeamish is his third psychological thriller and it is indeed charmed. Mark also takes the helm here as director and the benefits of his deceptively light touch are palpable. The highest compliment that can be paid to a director is that a good director is one that is never caught directing. Mark lets the words speak for themselves and he cast the perfect actress to deliver them.

Alison Fraser in Squeamish (Photo by Maria Baranova)

Alison Fraser in Squeamish (Photo by Maria Baranova)

Alison Fraser as Sharon is a wonder to behold. Along with playing Sharon she will also inhabit six other characters, both male and female. There are no doubts that the technical skills of a two time Tony Award nominee are at work here in a masterful performance. Those skills are wrapped up in an artistic tour deforce that makes you fall for the sanguine, neurotic, twisted little soul she brings to life. There’s a smoky, syrupy, sultry texture to Fraser’s voice that is intoxicating. Her delivery of Sharon’s staccato thoughts is flawless and instrumental to that all-important draw that sucks you into her story. Squeamish does indeed have a twist but Alison Fraser herself is the seductive trap.

Sharon spends the waning night in Dr. Schneider’s apartment. Time flies here and there is a profound sense of disappointment as the sun begins to rise on Sharon’s tale and the realization occurs that things are coming to an end. There’s a great deal to be said when you long to spend more time in the company of a charming yet deadly villain.

The Beckett Theatre – Theatre Row
410 West 42nd St
New York, NY 10036
$52.25
www.theatrerow.org
212-239-6200
Oct 6 – Nov 11, 2017

From an original post on TheaterScene.

Edward MedinaEdward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.

11
Oct
17

A Clockwork Orange: My Review

Pete (Misha Osherovich), Alex (Jonno Davies), Georgie (Matt Doyle) and Dim (Sean-Patrick Higgins). (Photo Credit Caitlin McNaney)

Pete (Misha Osherovich), Alex (Jonno Davies), Georgie (Matt Doyle) and Dim (Sean-Patrick Higgins). (Photo Credit Caitlin McNaney)

Welcome to New World Stages Theatre Four. Welcome to a Brechtian black box presentation of testosterone driven madness. Welcome to a space where the aesthetics of naturalism as theatrical illusion is nuked out of existence and the poetics of epic theater abounds in its place.

As you take your seat you will swear you hear the announcers call of a WWE wrestling match. Sitting there in that heavily raked bowl of a space you’ll be subjected to pounding music, a heavy dose of atmospheric fog, and fixed and focused lights that keep the space lit yet dim. You’ll be surrounded by a forced to be too loud crowd, and hawkers of peanuts and drinks. Until an unannounced street gang of four begin to make their way down the aisle. The thespian cage match is about to begin.

They call themselves Droogs. They speak in a patois of their own making called Nadsat which is a mix of Cockney slang, Shakespearian poetry, and Russian vocabulary. They drink gads and gads of a drugged milk drink they call Moloko. They fight amongst themselves. They fight with others of their kind. They appear merciless. A gay man is beaten and raped. A rich woman is raped and killed. This cacophony of ultraviolence dance fighting galore is all done to a soundtrack of Beethoven, Bowie, and Frankie Goes to Hollywood, just to name a few.

An ensemble of male actors Jimmy Brooks, Matt Doyle, Sean Patrick Higgins, Brian Lee Huynh, Misha Osherovich, Ashley Robinson, Timothy Sekk, Alekssander Varadian is led by the impressive Jonno Davies as Alex deLarge. Other than Davies this ensemble will morph into a variety of characters, both male and female, that tell Alex’s tale and in that they all do an exemplary job within the parameters they’ve been given.

Our ne’er-do-well anti-hero is eventually imprisoned where he becomes Prisoner 6655321 and a subject of experimental aversion therapy to cure him of his evil ways and turn him into a guinea pig of government reform. His love of music is turned against him. It only serves to remind him of mental horrors forcibly projected into his mind. It results in his ability to manifest violence being taken from him. The thought alone pains him. He becomes a weakling before his enemies.

Brian Lee Huynh (left) and Jonno Davies (right). (Photo Credit Caitlin McNaney)

Brian Lee Huynh (left) and Jonno Davies (right). (Photo Credit Caitlin McNaney)

The newly reformed Alex is granted early release as a reward for subjecting himself to the cure of the state. His return brings him to a changed home life. His parents reject him more than usual. There’s a new boarder occupying his old room and his space in the family unit. His former Droog playmates are now on the side of law enforcement. Ex-villains being used to catch real villains. Alex ends up becoming a stranger in his own strange land and in his closing monologue, delivered directly to us, he reminds us that there are many Alex’s out there, there are also Droogs to be wary of, and they are creations of our own making.

Anthony Burgess is credited with writing the play though he passed in 1993 without actually writing a version for the stage. His dystopian novel, initially inspired by the violent assault on his wife Lynn who was robbed, beaten, and raped by US Army deserters during a World War II blackout, was first published in 1962. The film adaptation of his work by Stanley Kubrick followed nearly a decade later in 1971 but the singularly violent tone it set was created from the American version of the novel which had its most important twenty first chapter removed. The final chapter, in a structure set by Burgess to correspond with the established number of years in a young life, is one of redemption and change for Alex and seems to be restored in this interpretation.

Here in the twenty first century the reprobates in this theatrical incarnation appear more punkhipster chic than truly dangerous theatrical architypes. Even the once shocking violence while still disturbing in a live setting seems to be tame by the standards our current society has become all too familiar with as of late.

Alexandra Spencer-Jones’s all-encompassing directing style here is predicated on faster, bigger, louder, and more grotesque. This lack of finesse results in a very loud one note presentation. The complex jabberwocky like poetry of language that marks Burgess’s work gets lost as it blows passed the ear. The humor in this intended satire becomes so broad that it only registers in the lowest common denominators. The ensemble is forced into overmodulation and with everything playing at level eleven on the amp there’s no place to go but down, and down while refreshing when it does make a rare appearance, reads as weakness here.

The Cast of 'A Clockwork Orange' at New World Stages. (Photo Credit Caitlin McNaney)

The Cast of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ at New World Stages. (Photo Credit Caitlin McNaney)

Epic theatre exists in the realm of disconcerting alienation. Actors playing multiple roles to blur the lines between protagonists and antagonists. Focused specific lighting forces the eye to see only what is meant to be seen. Abstract scenery deconstructs the normal.  The clash of modern and classical music further confuses the senses. All these tricks are on display here, and while they are successful individually they fail to coalesce and deliver a whole. Bertolt Brecht once said that art is not a mirror with which to reflect reality but a hammer with which to shape it. A hammer would have been useful here instead of the unwieldy use of an ax.

New World Stages
340 West 50th Street
New York, NY 10019
$59 – $89
www.aclockworkorangeplay.com
212-239-6200
Sept 25 – Jan 6, 2018

From an original post on TheaterScene/The Fire Island Sun.

Edward MedinaEdward Medina is an Amazon KDP bestselling author of high fantasy, dark horror, and epic adventure books, short stories, and poems. To date his combined works have earned over one hundred and fifty Amazon and Goodreads five star reviews from readers, reviewers, bloggers, teachers and fellow authors.

He is a native New Yorker who over time has built a significant and multifaceted career. He has been a producer, director, and writer for both digital media and the New York Off and Off – Off Broadway stages. He also had the honor and the privilege to work for the late great Jim Henson creator of the Muppets.

Edward founded a successful independent production company dedicated to family entertainment and children’s causes. He also established a multimedia company in order to assist nonprofits achieve their own cause related goals. He went on to become a theme park designer. For fun he became a steam train engineer and has been since childhood a sometime magician.

Currently Edward is a critic and feature entertainment columnist covering Broadway, Off Broadway, Off-Off Broadway, Clubs and Cabarets for TheaterScene and The Fire Island Sun. He also maintains his love of theatrical production by continuing to create new works for both stage and screen. And his dream of building a fully realized world of fantasy on tropical shores is still very much alive and well.

If you’d like more detailed information on Edward’s work, visit his LinkedIn profile or his website. You can also explore his books, follow him on Twitter, like his page on Facebook, and subscribe to his blog on WordPress.

Edward Medina is proud to be a member of the American Theatre Critics Association, the Dramatists Guild, the Society of Children’s Book Writers & Illustrators, and the Horror Writers Association.




Edward Medina Author

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