Phanciful Phantastic Phun – Phantasmagoria

Try as I may, I cannot come up with an interest group that would not be entertained or enlightened by Phantasmagoria. While many of my articles will suggest categorical interest groups that would most benefit from an attraction or event, this is one that I can confidently recommend to the masses without exception. You may be surprised to discover that they have even developed a youthful fanbase, with performances at libraries and various children’s events! Not only is there an aspect of appeal for everyone in a Phantasmagoria performance, but there is also nothing else quite like it! I’ve spent almost a week of sleep-deprived searching to discover something – anything – that even comes close to such a colossal conglomeration of characteristics and eccentric elements. I’m convinced that nothing even comes close. But… what IS Phantasmagoria?

Creator/playwright, John DiDonna, recently shared some biographical history with me, along with press releases for their upcoming performances…

“Phantasmagoria’s main stage productions offer stories taken from the diverse century’s old literature of horror and the macabre, while appearances and special events charm with a professional variety of circus and theatrical flair! Whether staring into the darkness of ‘The Raven’ by Poe, or tricking the hilariously cannibalistic ‘Captain Murderer’ of Dickens or battling the hideous creatures of mythology, folklore and fiction, the troupe entrances and immerses its audience into stories that come fully alive.”

Phantasmagoria is currently celebrating their 6th year of production in Central Florida and preparing to embark on their first performances beyond their home state, and this is only the beginning for this remarkable ensemble! 2015 will also see the release of the first Phantasmagoria comic book and the second series of Phantasmagoria trading cards. In October, the troupe will premiere Phantasmagoria VI at the John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center in Orlando.

July 24-26, John and Rita Lowndes Shakespeare Center welcomes Phantasmagoria’s “Wicked Little Tales”, a best-of performance showcasing some of their most notable stories and interpretations. July 31-August 2, they are set to dazzle a whole new audience at Atlanta’s Barefoot Playhouse (with the inclusion of a remarkably tantalizing 5 day workshop July 28-August 1). 

If you still need more convincing, here’s a little snippet to gnaw on, provided by DiDonna, from the Phantasmagoria backstory…

“From out the darkest times they came. Since the first moment a story was told, they existed. Immortal. Forever.

They were the wanderers who traveled the countryside… traversing the mountains and villages of Greece, carrying with them the stories of old. Yet they traveled alone, never knowing from whence they came, or where they were headed.

In the sixth century B.C., our founder Byron met Cyril in Athens, both actors in the ancient festivals. These men realized they were two of a rare breed, an unknown race united by the stories. Joining together, the search began for more of their kind, and slowly — one by one through the centuries — the troupe formed from disparate nations, banding together to share and live the stories.

Over the centuries many have joined. Many have left. Some disappear for a time, joining the human world. But they oftentimes return. As beings “more than natural”they have been mistaken as creatures of evil throughout the centuries, through many persecutions — from the Inquisitions to the Witch Hunts. Many of their lives have been forcibly taken.

The “Phantasmagoria Troupe” and those that are yet to be found are all that remain of these immortals. They know truly that no story has ever been written; they exist, breathe and live. Those that glimpse these and write them down are merely chronicling a history few can see.

And the troupe lives and dies by only this rule:

“Once a story is chosen, it must be told. Once a story is begun, it must be finished.”

This rule is an unbreakable and horrifyingly dangerous one.

Let the stories begin!”

Stay tuned for more from In the meantime, find Phantasmagoria on Twitter and Facebook. AND… get those tickets before they’re gone! These are intimate engagements, and seats are limited. Don’t be left in the cold, dark, Phantasmagoria-less world to wonder. It’s much more enchanting inside the theater.

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