I´ve been reading some of M.R. James stories recently, and it is curious how some of them are pretty much bizarre presentations on themselves. The Mezzotint is almost the description of 13 G###ts, albeit somewhat more elaborate, because in the story the image changes several times. The Tractate Midoth have a book which also seems to change, from an inexplicable, indecipherable text, to an easily readable text, with the testament and last will of someone, that would also be extremely easy to acomplish in performance, with just as simple as a colouring book style method. A view from a Hill has a pair of field glasses(binoculars) which allow someone to see something that is no longer there, a ghostly image of some sort, which is fairly similar to an effect called the s##ent wit##ss. The haunted dolls house, is another one which could be adapted to our field of work, with a C###net de los M##rtos style prop... How about you? What are your thoughts on M.R James? Did he inspire you? How would you adapt his concepts?
James' Mezzotint has been sitting in my notebook for a few years now, as an inspiration. I haven't devoted the time to researching how one might perform something like this (with multiple changes, not the single change effect you mention) but it's there every time I open the notebook.
I find his writing is certainly an inspiration for the feeling it portrays. Not the sense of dread inspired by Lovecraft, or the out-and-out over-the-top horrors of Poe, but a more subtle creeping feeling. Like when you sense a slight tingle on the back of your neck and dismiss it, only to have it move wider, across your shoulders. And then, out of the corner of your eye, you see a massive spider is crawling on you...
Hey Mike! Glad to have your presence here! Thank you for participating! Just an idea of mine for your Mezzotint piece... A two way S##tch B#x may do the trick (pun intended). For instance, Picture of a house, put in the box, then telling a bit more about the story, first change, put in the box again, more about the story, second reveal, then, if feeling very bold, a manifestation a la 13 G##sts, in front of their very eyes, would be the killer ending... I hope this is useful. All the best!
Hi Mike! If I remember the story correctly, the picture is put away in a drawer. Well, a two way S##tch Drawer (there are even drawers in some spirit boards available in the bizarre community, I think...) would do it. I don´t think the method of 13 G##sts can be adapted to several different manifestations. In my piece The Messenger, I use a spirit message, which appears in a blank card, previously inspected and signed by the participant. I store all the props for that piece in a small wooden box, including the card, which rests there for some time before being signed and put inside a leather envelope, inside which the spirit manifests. Could the box have something to do with it? Perhaps... If you are interested, I can send you the link to the vídeo of it as a PM, just don´t expect my performance to be exquisite, that vídeo was my first performance of this type of material (bizarre, which I preffer to call Dark Theatre), and it lacks the maturity I now start to have. By the way, just something from the top of my head. If you need justification for the Picture to be put in a box, tell the participants the box is blessed and it holds the cursed, or evil nature of the Picture secure inside. Therefore, it can only be outside for a few seconds, before manifesting its evil qualities. Have you seen The Conjuring? Sometimes, evil events (like murders and so forth...) are so powerful, they infect objects, objects which were pure before, but now are mere tools of the evil energies that possess them. All the best!