A Halloween dose of Victorian suspense

One of Alaska's top-10 arts organizations will be holding audiences in suspense at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium this week through Halloween. The Alaska Theatre of Youth will be presenting “The Monkey's Paw and Other Tales.”

These Victorian suspense stories are less in your face and more spine chilling, said Shane LeVesque, executive director of the organization.

The play, which features three different stories, is set with a group of friends gathered at the ruins of an old mansion for their annual Halloween storytelling contest. The host of the contest is an odd old woman, attended by a crabby nurse. As the story telling begins, the stories come to life on stage.

The first tale, “The Monkey's Paw,” is about a Victorian family of three people who are presented with a shriveled old monkey's paw by a soldier returning from India. He warned the family that the monkey's paw would grant their wishes, but in a way that would bring misery.

The skeptical father, not heeding the warning, jokingly wished for 200 pounds of British currency.

The following day, their son was killed in an accident at the factory where he worked. The factory owners paid the family compensation of 200 pounds.

Despite the obvious bad omen, the family makes their two remaining wishes. The wihes are carried out with increasing macabre.

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The next two stories, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and “The Phantom Signalman,” are increasingly eerie.

To add to the growing uneasiness, the competing partygoers discover something horrible. Two people are dead.

Performances will take place on weekends at 7 p.m. Oct. 26- 27 at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., and Oct. 28 at 2 p.m. On Halloween night, Oct. 31, performances will begin at 6 p.m., another at 8 p.m. and the last show will begin at 10 p.m.

Admission is $6. The performances are recommended for ages 10 and older. Proceeds go to scholarships and the Alaska Theatre of Youth.

The group performs at the Wendy Williamson Auditorium as part of the Theatre in Your Schools program in cooperation with the university.

For more information, call 338-4901.