By John A. Nau
Pittsburgh, a city at once enigmatic, bold, beautiful and filled with promise. So many of her sons and daughters have gone on to achieve fame and fortune. Her children have had tremendous impact upon American culture. Many of these stories we know, and still others have yet to be written, and still more have yet to unfold. That being said, I wanted to introduce many of you to the unfolding tale of the local talent, Michael McGovern.
I first met Michael at a public reading of a play he had written titled The Disappearing. Michael’s work concentrates on horror from the masterpieces of Poe to the classic work of Christopher Lee, Vincent Price and modern adaptations and experimentation that stays true to the art form. Michael’s devotion to the power and ambiance of terror allowed him to create something unique and powerful.
Michael developed a new form of humor. He took the stand up comedic routine and combined it with classic pieces of horror that have become part of everyday American culture. He calls it Stand-up Horror, and if you have never had the chance to see him perform his unique routine then you have missed something that pushes the boundaries of what we consider comedy. How I wish I could capture the experience in these simple paragraphs, but all I can do will be to shine a light on a bit of the genius he has created. Consider a show where you are thrilled to laugh at “Drac the Knife”, or “Rosemarie’s Babies”, and onto the pervasive “Linda Blair Was My Prom Date”. Michael touches upon the essential horrors that our culture enjoys. His effort pulls laughter and memories from the audience as the show unfolds. We are a culture of people that love to feel gooseflesh rise upon our hide. Why we love all this fear I cannot explain, but we all know that we do.
I wish I could tell you to go and see his next show, but as with all things there comes an end. During my discussion with Michael about his future he explained that he needed a break from his trademark effort.
Does this mean Pittsburgh will never again see Stand up Horror? I’d bet that Michael will reanimate this corpse once more to fears and cheers. In the meantime, the artist has other efforts to fill his creative drive. Michael revealed to me that he has completed a Novel titled “Vampire Heart”. He has begun the effort of submitting this work to a number of publishers. I believe he will find a home for his gothic tale. You can be sure it will be nothing like the Twilight Series. I look forward to the day when he provides me with my own signed copy.
Michael, as I noted in the opening paragraphs, has written plays that have been produced here in Pittsburgh and as he explained to me has been creating a three play effort. These plays are a departure from his traditional works of horror, but as he explained he has taken his many years of experience and pored it into these latest efforts.
In the end, Michael McGovern stands as one of Pittsburgh’s favorite sons. Do we all know Michael McGovern’s name? No, but Michael has taken part with the Pittsburgh Fringe Festival and many of his plays have seen life on the local stage. Michael’s tale continues on and this unsung master of the macabre and experienced artist has his best days ahead. When you hear his name take notice and enjoy his work.