Recap of the Workshop’s Terrifying Tales
This last Wednesday, October 28th, the Shanghai Writing Workshop put together Terrifying Tales, the first of its themed reading series. For one night, readers did their best to terrifying the audience with stories of blood and horror, and the high quality of work reflected the excelent work that we have come to know and appreciate from the workshop.
Hannah Lund presented a ghoulish romance with split perspectives in her story, “For the Love of Ghost.” Listeners got to hear about the fascinating pursuit of a man after a woman from the different perceptions of both predator and prey because what was love for one side was horror for the other. In a style only she can pull off, she showed both sides of this complex relationship.
Next, Patrick Schiefen reflected on murder and infidelity in “The Living Room.” Patrick explored a ghostly, ethereal narrative of a young man contemplating his own murder, the misplaced blame that comes with it, and his growing desire for revenge. The horror of this story came not from the murder itself, which happened so quickly, but the realization that he would have to ponder this murder forever.
Rivkah’s’ “Doors” shows us a family besieged by a malevolent presence. It’s a thrilling story of the malignant phantoms of uncertainty and doubt that was great fun to see performed. In a nod to classic horror, Rivkah showed listened a couple hiding behind a door too thin to keep out everything that huants the night.
Mingway’s story of alienation and separation from one’s family was read by Mike Robinson. This story featured a main character brought back from the dead by an unknown force. The nameless narrator does not realize that he is a zombie until the very end, when it’s too late to stop what’s already been done.
Mike Robinson had a performance piece on the twisted ambitions, loneliness, and competition, and a magic book that makes everything worse, which was inspired by his short story, “A Book of Feasts.” Listeners were given a peek into the mindset of an office worker consumed by neurotic jealousy and watched as the thin veneer of respectability ripped away.
In Paula Willis’s story, a young man ventures into the underworld to find his brother, risking those who would have him stay forever. A nameless malevolent presence uses trickery and force to capture the living, a fresh turn on a classic descent into the underworld.
Nate Banfield’s story recalls the cold emotional distance of New England, a region of the United States long associated with ancient families, repressed histories, and long hidden traces of the terrible and the strange. His tale “It’s a Real Shame” showcases the lengths that the average person will go to to avoid dreadful truths.
Finally, Stephanie Hosier ended on a story of epistimological historical horror. This story of ancient rituals and the sacrifices of kings was a perfect addition to our Halloween lineup. Halloween itself can be traced back to the Samhain, a festival celebrated by the ancient Gaelic people of Ireland. The terror of the ancient pasts crawls back to the modern era in Stephanie’s story “The Samhain Eulogy.”
With this strong line up, everyone enjoyed the evening. The Workshop would like to thank Loft 1900 for generously hosting us, all the wonderful readers, and the lovely audience that decided to spend the evening speculating that which cannot be named.
The Shanghai Writing Workshop is a non-profit literary organization dedicated to hosting educational and literary events and developing the talents of writers.
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