One-man Gothic horror story

transformation: Layers of meaning in concert, storytelling, theater combination

Contributing writerOctober 26, 2012 

Among the tricks and treats of Halloween in South Sound this year will be the dark and mysterious tale of “The Golem,” playing for one night only at the State Theater.

The one-man show, adapted from the surrealist 1915 novel by Gustav Meyrink, is the work of Daniel Flint, who is starring in Harlequin Productions’ “Richard III.” That’s how the show, a non-linear production with electronic music and elaborate sound effects, found its way to Olympia.

“The book itself is told in the form of a dream,” Flint said. “I wanted to create a dream on stage. You can turn off your forebrain and just have the experience.”

“The Golem,” a precursor to “Dracula” and “Frankenstein,” tells the story of a jeweler and art restorer living in a ghetto in Prague by way of an anonymous narrator who has dreamed himself into the jeweler’s life.

“It’s a story of transformation, but it’s a Gothic horror story as well,” he said, “It’s a mystery. It’s a love story. It has all those elements that make it a good, interesting yarn.”

The book and show have layers of meaning and symbolism from Jungian imagery to tarot to the cabala. But it’s not meant to be a lesson in esoteric spirituality, Flint said. Rather, it’s an 80-minute interlude in a mysterious place.

“Like a dream, you just let it wash over you, and at the end, you got what you got out of it,” he said.

In addition to Flint’s performance as a variety of characters of both genders, the audience will be washed in cyberpunk music by Jupiter Rex, aka Josh Taylor, who’ll be on a balcony above the main stage.

“He composed music for the whole play,” Flint said. “It goes almost continuously through the entire thing. It creates this atmosphere.

“It’s sort of a hybrid of concert, storytelling and theater.”

Taylor also will provide the sound effects that set the scene. “There are like 75 sound cues,” Flint said. “Footsteps, doors opening, doors closing, screams, all kinds of things.”

Flint is a former Harlequin regular now living in Washington, D.C., where he’s been developing “The Golem” with the experimental Taffety Punk Theatre Co.

The book captured his imagination, and he has been working on this project for seven years. A stripped-down workshop production was mounted in July at the Over the Line Festival at Round House Theatre in Silver Spring, Md., and a full-scale version is set for May in D.C.

The Olympia production — which will take advantage of theatrical lighting and the set from “Richard,” closing Saturday — will fall somewhere between.

“My hope is that in its future incarnation, we’ll add things like projection and smoke and mirrors, visual effects, that make it more like a dream,” Flint said. “This will be more like your standard play with live music and sets and costumes and lights, but not a lot of special effects, unless you consider one person playing 12 characters a special effect.”

Perhaps not, but it did impress reviewer Elliot Lanes of the Maryland Theatre Guide.

Flint, he wrote in a review of the festival production, “turns in a knockout solo performance. … Flint plays all of the characters in the show and does so with great energy and vibrato.” ‘The Golem’

What: Daniel Flint, starring in Harlequin Productions’ “Richard III,” presents a one-man show he adapted from Gustav Meyrink’s 1915 novel. The show includes live music by Jupiter Rex.

When: 8 p.m. Halloween night (Wednesday)

Where: State Theater, 202 Fourth Ave. E., Olympia

Tickets: $15 in advance, $20 day of the show

Information: 360-786-0151, harlequinproductions.org

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