Arts and Culture With a Dash of Spookiness
Sometimes traditional haunted houses and pumpkin patches don’t hit that sweet spot of fright and terror. Delve into the lives of evildoers and darkness dwellers, and experience chilling transcendence through Pinellas County’s’ scarily prolific performing arts, literary and visual arts purveyors. Here are some events and exhibitions that offer a dose of dark humor and creativity to get you in the mood for the year’s spookiest holiday:
Saturday, Oct. 29, at Ruth Eckerd Hall
The Tampa Ballet Theatre returns to Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater to perform a three-act ballet based on Bram Stoker’s gothic horror classic with music by composer Wojciech Kilar, the composer of the 1992 Scorsese movie starring Gary Oldman. Praised as “a sensual story about love, death and the undead,” the show starts at 8 p.m. Visit rutheckerdhall.com for ticket info and details.
Wordier Than Thou Haunted House
Recommended for both horror literature and theater fans alike, the uniquely Gothic attraction invites attendees to tour a Gulfport home known for its lush landscaping and characteristic decor. Each room will feature a short spooky play produced by a pair of local writers and actors, including Erika Lance, Cathy Salustri, Kathy Nappier and historian Deborah Frethem. Tours will take place from 6 to 10 p.m. over four nights: Tickets are $10 in advance and $15 at the door. Purchase tickets and get information here.
ORACLE: A Collaborative Exhibition at Blue Goose
Currently on display; closing party on Sat., Nov. 4, 8 p.m.
Artists George Retkes and Laura Spencer display works that transport the viewer to ethereal realms full of mystery and symbolism. Drawing inspiration from native Florida wildlife and landscape, Retkes and Spencer have collaborated to create silk screens that bridge the gap between fine art and graphic design with colors and images influenced by archetypes of the Tarot and Divination. You can find event and venue information here.
Assassins at freeFall Theatre
Through Nov. 6
Acclaimed for its consistently top-notch productions and performances, freeFall Theatre Company is delving into the psyche of killers and would-be killers for its current show. Chris Crawford directs an impressive ensemble that includes Susan Haldeman as Sara Jane Moore, who attempted to take out President Gerald Ford; Robert Teasdale as Leon Czolgosz, the American anarchist and former steel worker responsible for assassinating William McKinley; plus Thomas Mothershed (Samuel Byck), Britt Michael Gordon (John Wilkes Booth), Marissa Toogood (Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme), John Mark Jernigan (John Hinckley), Lucas Wells (Balladeer/Lee Harvey Oswald), Pasqualino Beltempo (Giuseppe Zangara) and Alan Mohney Jr. (Charles Guiteau). Praised for its “shocking pathos and biting humor,” Assassins brings to fore the inner workings of history’s most notorious personalities. For more information and tickets, visit freefalltheatre.com.
Wait Until Dark at Ruth Eckerd Hall
Through Sun., Oct. 30, at Murray Theatre
If you’re in the mood for a thriller, Hat Trick Theatre Company’s season opener features a new adaptation of a classic favorite. Written by Frederick Knott and adapted by Jeffrey Hatcher, Wait Until Dark follows Susan Hendrix, a recently blind housewife who, unbeknownst to her, has come into the possession of a doll filled with stolen diamonds. While her husband is away at work, a pair of dangerous con men accost her, determined to retrieve the treasure-filled toy. The tables turn after dark when the visually impaired Susan exercises her obvious advantage. Tickets are $24. Season package includes three shows–Wait Until Dark, Lend Me a Tenor and The Three Musketeers–for $55. Call 727-791-7400 for more information.
Ghost Tour of Downtown St. Petersburg
Nightly at 8 p.m.
Join costumed tour guides for a leisurely and somewhat spooky stroll along St. Petersburg’s downtown streets and waterfront. Expect chilling and ghostly tales involving familiar landmarks. $15 per person; $10 ages 4-12; call 727-894-4678 or visit the website here.