With “Unwrap Your Candy,” Olympia Little Theatre is offering up an enough spooky goodies to fill a trick-or-treat bag.
“It’s deliciously disturbing,” said Toni Holm, who’s on the company’s board. “It’s guaranteed to keep you awake at night.”
“There’s just enough creepiness to make it interesting, and then there are some laughs as well,” said director Toni Murray. “Sometimes, one of the responses to scary things is to laugh.”
The show consists of four one-act plays, all written by Doug Wright. One is about a violin prodigy who encounters the supernatural, while another follows a neurotic real estate agent showing a house filled with unspeakable secrets.
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“Each of the plays is very distinctly different,” Murray said. “It’s been fun to think of them as complete little jewels.”
One thing they share in common, though, is that they all seem to be set somewhere just a little different than the world as we know it.
“I like to think of Rod Serling saying, ‘You are about to enter another dimension,’ ” Murray said.
“In the program, they want you included in the time and the place,” she added. “The time is the present. The place is perhaps another dimension.”
New York Times critic Bruce Weber, writing about a 2001 production directed by the playwright at the Vineyard Theatre off Broadway, also drew comparisons to Serling.
“The prevailing theme is that beneath the placid sheen of unexceptional American lives is the possibility, if not the certainty, of psychological turbulence,” Weber wrote. “The prevailing attitude is expressible as a wicked chuckle.”
There’s just enough creepiness to make it interesting, and then there are some laughs as well. Sometimes, one of the responses to scary things is to laugh.
Toni Murray, Olympia Little Theater director
The plays also exist in a different dimension than the fare for which the theater is best known. While there is diversity included in each season, many of the shows the company chooses are light comedies.
Consider the plays Murray has previously directed for the company. Two of them — “Harvey” and “Heaven Can Wait” — are sweet comedies written in the 1940s. Others, including 2013’s “Last of the Red Hot Lovers,” are by Neil Simon, whose audience-friendly comedies have made him perhaps the quintessential community-theater playwright.
This play, which Murray suggested to the play-reading committee, is definitely not that.
“It is a bit of a departure for us, because it is a more avant-garde show, but it has an edge to it that the committee and I kind of liked,” said Kendra Malm, the company’s artistic manager.
“I wanted to do something a little different,” Murray said, “and this definitely is a little different, definitely a little offbeat compared to Olympia Little Theatre’s normal fare.”
But fear not. While it’s not suited for the youngest ghosts and goblins because it includes mature language, “Unwrap” is not the theatrical version of a horror movie.
“I don’t like horror,” Murray said. “This alludes to some things. There’s a lot of imagination.”
UNWRAP YOUR CANDY: AN EVENING OF ONE-ACT PLAYS
What: Olympia Little Theatre gets in the spooky spirit with four short plays aiming for chills and chuckles.
When: 7:55 p.m. Friday (Oct. 23) and Saturday, plus Thursday-Oct. 31, with matinees at 1:55 p.m.
Where: Olympia Little Theatre, 1925 Miller Ave. NE, Olympia.
Of note: The show includes strong adult language.
Tickets: $11-$15; available at Yenney Music or online.
Information: 360-786-9484, olympialittletheatre.org.