Recently, I had the opportunity to attend a production of Skriker, a play written by Caryl Churchill and produced locally by Janice Findley Productions at the Erickson Theater off Broadway. I found this play to be quite a spectacle. Straight away, the opening 10-minute monologue, delivered by the Skriker herself, engages you in her fairy world completely and then takes her message to the material world as she attaches her spritely interests on two young women in London.
Beyond the play on words between nursery rhymes, fairy tales, and other language from the underworld, this play offers a visual feast for the eyes. A dark background is played up with interesting costumes, often offering humans in animal attire, and fanciful set designs – I absolutely love the elaborate dining room setting. Also, it’s perfect for the Halloween season – with a macabre scene of the underworld played out.
The strongest performance comes from the Skriker herself, played by Mary Ewald, who does a sensational job with the myriad of roles she plays in the material world interacting with Lily and Josie – the two teenagers she is attracted to help and grant their wishes. I found that piece magical – granting wishes. Wouldn’t we all love to have a fairy who grants our wishes – even if we risk them turning into nightmares?
Skriker offers a play on all of those fairy tales we grew up and learned to love by heart. The Skriker exposes many of them as the violent and harsh stories that they actually are. Yes, we were entertained as children by these tales, but when you dissect them, as the Skriker does, the stories are often quite scary. Remember Hansel and Gretel? No fun being put in the oven after being fattened up on sweets. There is a darkness to this play and it’s revealed in such stories being exposed by the Skriker.
The Skriker offers an interesting night out at the theater – especially during this season of spooks and ghouls. it runs through November 11th.