By John A. Nau
Pittsburgh, a night at the theater, and the genius of the playwright are not a group of words we would often fit together. Perhaps, however, a few of us walk to the beat of a different drummer and we know how synonymous these words actually are. In fact, on any given weekend evening all across the city there are small theaters filled with devoted and talented actors performing the works of Playwrights from all over. So many of us would be surprised by the level of talent our city commands. I spent a large portion of 2015 attending show after show as I had been tasked with reviewing a great many of said shows. Of all of the plays I had seen one troupe of actors and a particular playwright stood out as something spectacular. I recently had the chance to see these artists once more as they brought their talents yet again to the stage as they performed an original play created by one of Pittsburgh’s soon to be favorite sons, James Michael Shoberg.
The Rage Of The Stage Players are the troupe of actors I speak of. The play, Bloody Hell, created by James Michael Shoberg which has been inspired by the horror, the ambiance, and the power of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, made its debut at the Mckeesport Little Theater from June 24th through various dates until July 9th. I had the fortune to see the play and although it ran three hours the audience would have been extremely pleased to watch more and more as they were completely entertained and enthralled. The players, the story, the music, the costumes, the efforts from all involved brought forth a piece of art that any lover of the theater, of horror, or the melancholy would remember for a long time to come.
James Michael Shoberg has been making a name for himself turning out these macabre efforts, one after another for many years. His talent runs deep and if it happens that his flavor of play, poem, or story are not for the faint of heart, well, he makes no apologies, nor should he. After all, his Rage Of The Stage Players warn that their shows are for the mature, and if you are squeamish perhaps you might reconsider as they do not pull any punches, and blood will flow on the stage.
Some may say such a show would be better set in October when our imagination turns to Halloween, but this would be a waste as terror and horror can entertain anytime. If ever you have a chance to see anything that Shoberg has created then I would say take it in as you will go away pleased. As for Bloody Hell, well, he has made another hit for himself, and the Rage Of The Stage Players have shown themselves to be a talent one can rely upon to interpret and present the chills as they are meant to be.
As for Pittsburgh with its growing list of theaters, actors and artists I can only say this, go out and find these small enterprising theaters with their talented players and gifted contributors and see what they have in store. Not all of them will be as provocative as Bloody Hell, but they are sure to entertain, so enjoy.
Photos courtesy of Chris Bombardo Visuals