BANGOR — For those who decide not to take the kids trick-or-treating this weekend and limit their Halloween fun, there are three spooky theatrical events being offered virtually by the Penobscot Theatre Company’s Digitus Theatrum. They are suitable for varied ages and even include a story from a local source.
Digitus Theatrum features two virtual plays, “The Glitch Witch” and “Ghost Hunt,” and an audio presentation, “Ghost Postcards from Maine,” consisting of creepy Maine tales written by area writers. All three of these offerings can be accessed online by calling the Bangor Opera House box office at 942-3333 for the appropriate times and links.
For the little imps and wizards in your family, the “The Glitch Witch,” starring Brittany Parker and her “ghost” band, should be a perfect Halloween alternative for youngsters who like to sing, dance and cast the occasional spell.
Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Parker’s many past performances through the Barn Arts on Mount Desert Island will already know what a charming stage presence she has and, now, teamed up with her husband and filmmaker Peter Logue, the combination of talents is, well, enchanting.
Really, it’s a good bet that even the grumpiest of the goblins in your household — including the grown–up ones — will be enchanted by Glynn, the reluctant witch, who is actually awful at spell casting and much prefers singing with her invisible band of ghosts.
When we meet her, Glynn is having a fine time jamming with her band, although her mom Melora, who is away on a trip in Boston, has told her to practice her spells while she is away, instead of wasting her time on silly music.
Glynn’s fun, but disobedient activity is interrupted by an urgent message from Melora, who says there has been a magic emergency in Boston and Glynn will have to take over her mom’s spell–casting duties until she can safely return. Glynn, who, as we know, has not been practicing such things, enlists the help of her viewers, who are sent to find their own magic wands, costumes and other ingredients for making magic happen.
The results are hilarious, sometimes even smelly, but, as it turns out, rather magical. Unless children have changed significantly since mine were small, young audience members will have a great time helping Glynn get her mom home safely and, oh no! fight back the dark force that is creeping up the coast toward Maine.
Logue’s special effects are both special and effective and I’ll bet parents and grandparents who come along for the ride will be delighted by the ’60s vibe of the graphics he has chosen.
Definitely not for children is “Ghost Postcards from Maine.” These are six audio stories by Maine writers involving sunken towns, phantom boats, murder, child abandonment and other heinous behaviors from Maine’s far and near past and future, including one about Captain Hadlock of Cranberry Isles written in verse. Each of the writers explains a bit about the inspiration behind their grim stories, in the virtual program notes that precede the narratives. The stories run into one another with some Vincent Price-ish narration to bind them together.
While told well. the stories themselves, especially those presented in first person, are a bit like diving into a deep lake at night, unsure of what is going on or which way is up. Those who like that sensation should get some good chills. My favorite of these stories, though, because it mixes a bit of humor with the horror is young adult author and Bar Harbor resident Carrie Jones’ epistolary tale of a girl hoping the Kardashian family will adopt her and get her out of haunted Bucksport.
I haven’t seen the final PTC offering, but plan to see “Ghost Hunt” this weekend. It is billed as a tour of the Bangor Opera House conducted by one of my favorite stage actors, Ben Layman. As the last representative of the city’s once flourishing theater district, the Egyptian–themed Opera House building should offer plenty of spooky nooks and crannies to delight both history buffs and horror fans.
“Ghost Hunting,” “The Glitch Witch” and “Ghost Postcards from Maine” are part of Penobscot Theatre Company’s 47th Season, Digitus Theatrum, which will be offering a pretty full virtual schedule throughout the winter. Tickets range from $25 to $40 and are priced per household. Subscriptions are still available and are the best way to see all offerings at discounted prices of up to 25 percent off.
To purchase tickets or to subscribe, visit penobscottheatre.org or call the box office at 942-3333.