'Midnight Radio' dials up supernatural vibe in new season
By Alice T. Carter
Published: Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2012, 8:56 p.m.
Researching material for the next installment of Bricolage Production Company's “Midnight Radio” series turned its writers into cemetery-lurking, paranormal-investigating ghost hunters.
Last season, Bricolage asked its audiences to suggest and vote on themes for the next season of Midnight Radio, the popular live comedy series that reproduces the style and techniques of a 1940s radio show with stories of suspense, vintage sound effects, musical guests, fake breaking news, game-show segments and spoofy commercials. When voting was completed, Pittsburgh ghost stories was among the top three choices — along with secret agents and spies and cult-movie classics.
How to proceed was the first question that haunted writers Jeffrey Carpenter and Matthew Adams. They considered — and rejected — telling old, often already-well-known ghost stories that always seemed to tie into local urban legends, for something more immediate.
“What interested us more was heightening our own experiences,” Carpenter says.
A chance encounter with a local fan of the paranormal connected them to a local ghost-hunting agency.
Most of their research efforts turned into nothing more than a series of evening walks in places with names like “Dead Man's Hollow.”
But Adams had one creepy, unexplained encounter with a disembodied voice in a corner of an old abandoned house that eventually led them to the story that's the centerpiece for the Midnight Radio episode “Pittsburgh Ghost Stories,” which begins its run Thursday at Bricolage Production Company, Downtown.
“It was pretty moderately upsetting and a turning point,” says Adams, who keeps a recording of the incident on his cell phone. “It was (now) not just academic — what do you believe? — but what it feels like to experience something. I was pretty shaken up.”
“We are creating an original fictional story based on our true accounts,” says Carpenter, who did not share Adams' experience.
Their story, “The Haunting,” now revolves around a data analyst at a local university whose fiancée is pushing him to set a wedding date.
On a whim, he takes an unusual field trip, on which he discovers what may be special abilities that could be a gift or a curse. It's a discovery that may alter both their lives.
While “The Haunting” is more of a suspense story than something like “Tales From the Crypt,” Carpenter promises there's a certain amount of creepy phenomenon included in the telling.
“We approached it from (the angle of) let's tell a good ghost story,” Carpenter says.
“It grows out of the oral tradition,” Adams says. “It's pre-science, pre-cultural, which is what I like about it. “
The evening's guest artist, Phat Man Dee, adds her voice to the evening's theme with songs of haunted Pittsburgh.
“She claims she levitates while she sings,” Carpenter says.
Alice T. Carter is the theater critic for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 412-320-7808 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Starkey: Fleury’s future at stake
- Jailed Hribal ‘fine,’ but family ‘terrible’ as answers in stabbing sought
- Five years later, Crosby wants another Cup win
- Penguins’ Malkin expects to play in Game 1
- Pitt wraps up spring football practice with closeness, competition
- South Fayette parents express dissatisfaction with handling of bullying
- Community turns out for Franklin Regional students’ return to class
- Pirates notebook: Wandy Rodriguez experiencing decline in fastball velocity
- Hempfield Area superintendent, business manager quit
- Legal experts question prosecuting South Fayette boy for recording bullies
- Obama, Biden to announce $500M for job training grants during W.Pa. visit