Shelter Skelter gets ghoulish for Halloween

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October 8th, 2010

The indie Omaha theater Shelter Belt is getting ghoulish for Halloween with its annual Shelter Skelter production. Now in its 15th year, Shelter Skelter will present eight short plays this year, submitted by playwrights around the country. Craig Bond is the Executive Producer at Shelter Belt. He said the lineup includes a mix of campy Halloween spoofs and suspenseful thrillers – not always the easiest to set on the stage.

“It’s really easy to write a romantic comedy, compared to a suspense piece that requires the audience to be drawn into it,” he said. “It’s a lot trickier to stage it in a convincing way and you don’t have the benefit of special effects like you’d have in a movie.”

But there are benefits to setting a thriller on the stage, Bond said. The audience is more of an active participant.

“For instance, when you do a blood effect on the stage, it’s a lot more visceral, a lot more immediate to the audience than say if you were seeing a blood effect on the screen.” With a laugh, Bond said “We get a lot bigger response from people when they see something like that because they might not expect it or it’s just more shocking.”

Shelter Belt’s mission is to produce new and original works. Bond said the theater works with local authors whenever possible, but they’ve also received submissions from as far away as Russia and Australia. “You never know where the next great play’s going to come from,” he said. Shelter Skelter opened Oct. 7 and continues with weekend performances through Halloween night.

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