Interview: WildClaw Theatre, Part 5: Charley Sherman

Today, as part of our week dedicated to Lovecraft’s Birthday, we conclude our Wildclaw Theatre interviews with Charley Sherman, cofounder of Wildclaw:

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IFP: Tell us about your current project. What is it called?

CS: WildClaw Theatre is about to produce DEATHSCRIBE – The 2nd Annual International Festival of Radio Horror Plays. This will take place at The Music Box Theatre, Chicago, on Monday October 5th.

IFP: How did you get involved with Wildclaw Theatre? What roles have you played in it? In which productions?

CS: We formed WildClaw Theatre two years ago, named after an actor friend of mine who passed away in 2004. His name was Ray Wild. And his nickname when he played gin was The Claw. I directed him in Clive Barker’s In the Flesh, very much a horror theatre production. And a few of the WildClaw company members were also friends with The Claw.

My role is the Artistic Director, and I adapted and directed the first two plays we produced: Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan and H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dreams in the Witch House.

IFP: What do you want to tell the audience with Wildclaw Theatre?

CS: I just want to tell an audience the best horror stories that we possibly can tell them.

IFP: What do you think having a live theatre production (as opposed to television or film) adds to the horror genre?

CS: Potentially a much more intense and terrifying experience, because the story is being told live in front of you and you cannot press pause or switch it off and if you try and head for the exit doors, we will kill you.

IFP: What other projects have you done? What was your favourite?

CS: I’ve mainly directed, sometimes acted, over the years, and Clive Barker’s In the Flesh, which I directed and co-adapted with Steve Pickering, is probably my favourite, if I had to choose.

IFP: What do you see as the biggest artistic challenge in producing a horror theatre production?

CS: Fear itself is an intensely personal thing for each individual in the audience. What one person finds terrifying onstage, another could find the very same thing silly.

IFP: What do you see as the biggest technical challenge in producing a horror theatre production?

CS: Finding the correct style to portray violence and its results onstage is always going to provide a huge challenge – particularly as the audience is so used to seeing elaborate and convincing special effects, violence, gore and makeup on film.

IFP: What play would you most like to do?

CS: Devotion to the Cross by Calderon de la Barca.

IFP: If you could be a Lovecraft/Mythos monster, which one would you be?

CS: Anything with a tentacle or two.

IFP: What is your favourite Lovecraft/Mythos story?

CS: “Beyond the Wall of Sleep”.

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Bio: Charley Sherman is from Nottingham, England, and trained as an actor at The Drama Centre, London. He then came to Chicago and acted at various theatres before making his directorial debut with Clive Barker’s In the Flesh, which he and Steve Pickering adapted for the old Organic Theater in 1992. He subsequently directed for the European Repertory Company before returning to England to direct at drama schools in England. Other projects include the short horror film, Listen to Your Eyes, which he co-wrote and co-directed with João de Sousa, and the unpublished novella “The Church of the Twin Souls”. He is currently the artistic director of WildClaw Theatre in Chicago, which he formed in 2007, and for whom he adapted and directed Arthur Machen’s The Great God Pan and H.P. Lovecraft’s The Dreams in the Witch House. Most recently he directed Henry V for Lakeside Shakespeare Theatre.

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IFPInterview: WildClaw Theatre, Part 5: Charley Sherman