As a prelude to Halloween, Theater House of Black will stage the suspense-horror supernatural play, “14 Leandro Road,” based on Edgar Allan Poe’s short story “The Fall of the House of Usher.”
The story of two eccentric siblings and their macabre home has been adapted by Jay Crisostomo and CK Bautista. Their adaptation incorporates elements of Baguio’s allegedly haunted Laperal White House, which was built in the 1920s and used as a Japanese garrison during World War II.
The house has spawned tales of the lingering presence of those who’ve been killed in it. (In 2013, it was repurposed as the Ifugao Bamboo Carving Gallery.)
The production will alternate male and female actors for the main roles. TV mainstays Mosang and Migui Moreno will play one sibling; Ahlex Leyva and Gry Gimena, the other.
The cast also includes Peewee O’Hara, May Bayot, Patricia Ismael, Gold Villar and Harry David.
Mosang admits to believing in a lot of superstitions. “Mostly the old, traditional Filipino ones like when you whisper your wish to a dead person, it will come true. Or when a dog howls, it’s a sign of death,” she says.
While TV audiences are more familiar with her comedic work in “Pepito Manaloto,” Mosang has done several stage dramas. “I keep coming back to theater because it helps me hone more of my love for acting.”
Recent credits include Gantimpala Theater’s “Kanser (Noli Me Tangere),” Virgin Labfest’s “Ang Goldfish ni Prof. Dimaandal” and Theater House of Black’s “Peratedes (The House of Bernarda Alba).”
Producer Harry David says, “The audience can expect to be entertained through spooky thrills and a few scares here and there. But they’ll also leave the theater asking questions about the points the play brings up.”
While Poe’s work follows the conventions of dark romanticism/gothic literature (fascination with melancholia, insanity, the grotesque, the irrational), some modern interpretations use mental health conditions to demystify the story, such as hyperesthesia (sensitivity to stimuli) and hypochondria.
Theater House of Black makes an effort to support various advocacies for its productions. “We chose mental health for this one because it’s a concern that has to be addressed by everyone,” David says.
Part of the proceeds will go to the Philippine Mental Health Association of the Philippines.
The play is directed by Jay Crisostomo, whose recent credits include Ikarus Theater’s “Habulan sa Pagitan ng Maliliit na Kamay ni Kamatayan” (his Palanca award-winning play) and “End Of The Gallows.”
“14 Leandro Road” runs Oct. 7-8 at Power Mac Center Spotlight, Circuit Makati. Call 0917-6561109, 8919999, or visit facebook.com/TheaterDuNoir.