Director DeLisa M. White’s Things at the
Doorstep, at Manhattan Theatre Source,
describes itself as “an evening of horror.” I would not disagree.
A pair of one-acts based on the writings of creep-out-master H.P. Lovecraft, Things at the Doorstep begins—innocently enough—with a passable version of The Hound (1922), adapted and gamely enacted by Greg Oliver Bodine. British accent and all, Bodine performs Lovecraft’s empurpled short story (about graverobbing gone wrong) as a straightforward, straight-faced monologue that would be at home on PBS.
Caveat lector: Spoilers follow.
The second one-act—I Am Providence—was held up by an apparent technical failure. The playwright, Nat Cassidy, took the stage and chatted to the audience while we waited. Sipping a Bud Light Lime, Cassidy mused on his risible adventures in the world of Rhode Island regional theater and his zeal for all things Lovecraft. Some people left. Some waited.
Nearly an hour later, when Cassidy started using his Dramatic Face and Stentorian Tones, it became apparent that this impromptu stalling was the show. Some sort of tricking-the-audience conceit with no discernible purpose. I cannot express how supremely annoying this was, except to say that Cassidy—obviously a talented performer and writer, this work excepted—concluded by asking us not to get angry. My notes read: “Oh God why. WHY.”