Telling ghost stories is a great past time, one that many people partake in, especially around this time of year. Whether it’s gathering around the campfire, curled up with a good book, or even sitting around the living room on Christmas Eve, ghost stories have been a part of our culture for centuries. It’s a tradition, almost, to share the ones you know with others. Though the details may change depending on who is telling it, as is always the case with storytelling, the through line of the story is always constant.
But what happens when the ghosts are the ones telling the story? What if the stories they are part of are told so many times, with the same outcome, that they are ready to break the cycle? Ready to re-write their tragic end?
About a year and a half ago, we were invited into a haunted house to witness the tale of IN ANOTHER ROOM, the debut show from E3 W Productions. At the time, I called it a “beautiful ghost story”, and was thrilled at the intricate narrative web that the show was able to weave.
So, when they announced a few weeks ago that they would be mounting a ‘second season’ of the show, I was both excited and, quite honestly, a little worried. I loved the sensation of exploring the story of the house the first time around, learning its secrets, and was worried they were going to have a tough time recapturing that magic. Fortunately for us, not only did they recapture it, but they also managed to bring it to a whole new level.
This new season of IN ANOTHER ROOM is unlike any ghost story you have ever seen before. For those who saw the initial show, the concept will be familiar. We are moved throughout a home, in and out of its rooms, to explore the stories of those who live there. With a small group, we learn the stories of those who lived there. Sometimes, these echoes of the past will break us off for one-on-ones, to share more insight into their tragic tales.
The beauty of this story is that E3W Productions has, yet again, managed to write a narrative that is both beautiful and shocking. The stories, while standalone enough, also interlock into one big story, allowing each ghost’s tale to share a through line with the one thing they have in common; the house. It’s pretty astounding to see how they all come together throughout the course of the story, no matter how wildly different their narratives are.
The incredibly talented Dan Dorff is the man tasked with kicking off this tale, and his introduction into the home is both haunting and gorgeous. Though it may seem like a lot of exposition up front, he balances it with a stellar performance that keeps you captivated, as he perfectly sets the tone for the proceedings.
From there, the acting continued to be top-notch, as we are welcomed into a scene with Kali Cook, Sierra Allison, and Emily Goss. These three friends, with stories of their own to tell, welcome us like we are old friends. The conversations, and comradery, between them is so natural that you’d swear you actually walked into an actual party. When the moment turns, though, their stories flip on a dime, and watching these three, unbelievably talented women tell their accounts was incredible. I also received a one-on-two scene here with Kali Cook’s Claire that was both heartbreakingly acted (she really sold her life story here, and I could feel tears welling up) and also visually stunning. The stark contrast of the set, and how it changed during her story, enhanced the entire thing even more. Definitely a stand out moment for me.
Ian Dick’s Walter and Tiffany Hubbard’s Paige also had wonderful stories to tell. While their stories were from vastly different ends of the spectrum, each allowed us to see a different side of the house (and also proved to be incredible snapshots into a different time). Both played their scenes with incredible believability and pulled on my heart strings quite a bit. Dick’s Walter showed us how love can transcend after death, while Hubbard’s Paige showed us a delightfully playful side (and had one of the most fun, yet unexpected, moments).
I mentioned how visually stunning my scene with Cook was earlier, but that compliment is spread throughout the entire production. The production design of the show must be seen to be believed. The first IN ANOTHER ROOM looked fantastic, and the hell rooms (to steal a phrase from fellow writer Juliet Bennett Rylah) from their sophomore effort, BITTER AT THE END, were also incredible. I really should not have been surprised that this would be any different, but they managed to turn the entire house into a gorgeous a visual tableau, one that will leave your jaw dropping every time you step into a new room. The entire place is transformed from top to bottom, creating an ethereal dreamscape that rivals most movie sets. From the opening room, all the way to the final moments, I was blown away by every visual. Even a simple lighting change, matched with sound cues, did wonders to really transport us into this world.
Speaking of sound, the design was top-notch again. The original score from Nathan Matthew David and Jeremy Lamb was the perfect background to the show, complimenting the story flawlessly. Daniel Tator’s use of sound enhanced every visual, and really brought it all together.
I really cannot say enough good things about IN ANOTHER ROOM. I went through with NoProscenium.com’s Noah Nelson and Juliet Bennett Rylah, and on the walk back to our cars, we could not stop talking about every single moment we loved (which, quite honestly, was all of them). E3W Productions has really upped their game here and taken their storytelling to a whole new level. If you have a ticket to see this sold-out show, you are incredibly lucky, as it is a beautiful work of art from start to finish. The down side is that it is also a finite one; the location is set to be destroyed in the coming weeks, so your chances of catching a remount are, barring some sort of miracle, very slim.
As if they weren’t already, E3W Productions proves they are a force to be reckoned with here. IN ANOTHER ROOM is stunning, and a ghost story I will not forget.
To keep up with E3W Productions, follow them on Instagram at: https://www.instagram.com/e3wproductions/