Theater companies have to be especially innovative these days because performance spaces have become scarce and smaller companies often cannot afford the ones that are rentable. Hence the now popular “home invasion.” No, robbery has nothing to do with it. In fact, these companies are welcomed with open arms.
Theatre On Fire, for one, is taking Meghan Brown’s delightfully creepy (in the complimentary sense) THE GYPSY MACHINE to homes in neighborhoods from Allston-Brighton to Davis Square. (TOF has only one week of performances left: To find out where, go to their website: theateronfire.org)
THE GYPSY MACHINE is a nifty little paranormal thriller like the scripts Rod Serling used to write for THE TWILIGHT ZONE. This ghastly, ghostly tale keeps you on your toes as it shifts your perception from scene to scene. Just when you think you know who’s evil, you begin to doubt yourself, just like the characters do.
We meet a young couple (Clare Tassinari and Grant Terzakis) in search of answers around an unusual missing person (Gigi Watson) case. They, in turn, meet a mysterious stranger (Casey Preston) with inexplicable knowledge about their lives. I can’t divulge much more for fear of spoiling the spooky surprises in the taut TOF production.
Darren Evans directs the four character piece with an eye for maximum chill as well as an ear for an amusing turn of phrase. The acting is first rate, naturalistic enough for us to believe, with heightened realism in the quirky nooks and crannies, to deliver the requisite shivers.
Sam Baltrusis, the author of several books on Massachusetts hauntings, says that although New Englanders are a skeptical lot, 90 % of us believe in ghosts. Even if you scoff, TOF’s THE GYPSY MACHINE is a well oiled contraption definitely worth the ride.