Barbra Dillon, Fanbase Press Editor-in-Chief: The production, Lights Out in the Hermit’s Cave, will soon be appearing as part of the Hollywood Fringe Festival. For those who may be unfamiliar, what can you tell us about its premise?
Angela Acuña: Upon checking in, the Fringe audience becomes the studio audience of a fictional radio station set sometime in the late 1930s/early 1940s. They have been invited to a live recording of episodes from two radio programs. Rather than just having them listen to the broadcasts, like they would at home, this station also stages the radio plays for their viewing pleasure. In addition to watching the plays, they can see the Foley work live, meet our horror hostesses, and can answer trivia to win prizes without even having to call in!
BD: What was the inspiration for bringing these two radio plays to life on the stage?
AA: My dad grew up listening to radio shows like The Shadow and would often speak fondly of the stories. Eventually, I sought out some of the old recordings and immediately fell in love with the medium. I found that I was especially drawn to the more macabre tales.
I’m not sure how exactly I decided to create the show. Ideas came in waves, and I’d mentally cobble them together. Then, Fringe drew near, and I decided to just jump in before I could talk myself out of it!
BD: You have a tremendous cast and crew involved with the production! What can you share with us about the creative process in bringing the shows to life?
AA: From the outset, I wanted the piece to immerse the audience into the world of the show. Therefore, everyone - cast and crew - would have to be a character that would in habit the world. I started by selecting people who I knew were not just great actors, but experienced improvisers. From there, it was mainly experimentation to see what worked. Everyone contributed to the piece beyond the part that the audience sees. I suppose the creative process was to find good and talented people, welcome and respect their opinions, and not be afraid to try new things.
BD: What do you hope that audiences will take away from the shows, and should viewers anticipate audience participation?
AA: I really want to pay homage to old-time radio horror shows, so if this inspires people to seek out other works in this medium, I will be ecstatic.
Yes, there is a certain amount of audience participation in the form of horror trivia in between the shows. Also, our horror hostesses frequently engage the audience.
BD: What makes the Hollywood Fringe Festival an ideal venue for Lights Out in the Hermit’s Cave?
AA: Fringe, by its very nature, lends itself to experimentation. Participants, as well as audience members, tend to be comfortable with works that veer off the beaten path. So, I thought it would be a great time to try out this format, see what works, what doesn’t.
BD: The show will be appearing at the Thymele Arts (Conference Room) from June 2-23, 2018. Are there any future plans to perform the show at other venues?
AA: Yes, this show is intended to be part of a series. We hope to continue showcasing different episodes from more awesome vintage shows. Our next show will be at the Noho Fringe Festival, and then we’ll go from there.
BD: Lastly, what would you like to tell readers who want to learn more about and purchase tickets for Lights Out in the Hermit’s Cave?
AA: Check us out at HFF18.org/5352. Also, remember that we are part of a greater festival, and that there are so many fantastic shows. So, be sure to check some of them out!