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Trapped in a church basement, they had just nine days to create something out of nothing, to be shown to a live theater audience.



                         The birth of anything is painful, even ideas.


The head: Welcome Kickstarter to a dark, bloody, tongue-in-cheek new genre of film: Grand Guignol Documentary.  Follow us down the mysterious, often absurd road to creation as writer/director Steven Bogart leads a host of talented actors from American Repertory TheaterNeil Gaiman and Stephin Merritt, through an experimental process called Workshop Theater. 

Bogart's process of creating something from nothing is completely collaborative, using various techniques of ensemble driven writing for the theater.  Exploratory improvisation is at the core of the process and allows the ensemble to immerse themselves in the theme, images, characters and ideas, and eventually arrive at an original play. 

The body: In the fall of 2011, in the bowels of a disused church in Harvard Square, Steven Bogart, the actors, Neil Gaiman and Stephin Merritt met for the first time. In just nine days they had to create an original play to be shown to a live theater audience.  

Through an intoxicating mix of warm-ups, improvisation and the special ingredient - Steven Bogart - the workshop process began.

Now dear audience please be warned, the themes uncovered in this mad theatrical laboratory are not for the faint of heart.  Inspired by the naturalistic horror shows of the Grand Guignol Theatre of Victorian Paris, this intrepid band began to explore the darker side of life - the exploitation of terror and insanity, murder, rape, torture and mutilation.  As the process developed, so too did a chilling sense that Andre de Lorde, the greatest of the Grand Guignol directors, "The Prince of Fear" was starting to take over the minds of the players.

Even the camera we used to record this workshop process was not spared the clammy, creeping tendrils of de Lorde's twisted psyche.  Days slipped by and the pressure was as thick as an executioners rotten breath.  Screams echoed from the basement and a wet whisper could be heard in the silence between breaths: the birth of anything is painful, even ideas.   

Would they be ready in time?  They could already hear the audience scratching at the door...  

The feet: Steven Bogart's workshop process has influenced generations of performers, including rockstar Amanda Palmer, who have gone on to step foot on countless stages around the world. Never before has a documentary attempted to capture the experience...until now.  

With great trepidation, we're asking for support so that we can produce a feature-length Grand Guignol style documentary from our unique footage of workshop theater.

                                             ----------------------------

Your advance purchase of the GRAND GUIGNOL DOCUMENTARY DVD will fund approximately 2000 hours of post-production -- including editing, animation/VFX, original score, voice-overs, acquisition of additional footage, DVD mastering, packaging and shipping. Original footage, equipment and post-production facilities are being provided by the filmmakers. 

In addition to the DVD, you can own an autographed bundle, a print of the original artwork Fred Harper will be commissioned to create, or even have dinner with your intrepid filmmakers. 

- Production -

Jessica Fox (Director) is a writer and film director with an extensive background in storytelling.  Her directing and writing credits include Bluebeard a short film recognized at the Northampton Film Festival, Baltimore International Film Festival and the Boston International Film Festival, Spring Fling a commercial for Scotland's Arts and Crafts Organization, The Last First Tour a six-part band documentary featuring the Dresden Dolls [currently being released] and Birth a short animation that is nearing completion this year. Jessica has consulted for Harper Collins and was the resident storyteller and film director at NASA. She divides her time between the US and the UK.  Her first novel is due to be published by Short Books in London.  www.mythicimagestudios.com

Steven Bogart (Creative Development) is a director, playwright, visual artist and theater instructor. He directs plays and musicals, and specializes in ensemble-generated original productions, several of which have gone on to win awards. Many of his plays have been produced in Boston and his play Alice In War was included in the 2007 Summer Play Festival. Over the past twenty years, he has collaborated with Amanda Palmer on several productions including With the Needle that Sings in Her Heart and Evelyn Evelyn.

As a playwright, he received the 2009 MCC Grant and his newest play, Pigcat received the Holland New Voices Award at the 2010 Great Plains Theater Conference. He teaches for the University of New Orleans Low Residency Program, Southern New Hampshire University, and Emerson College. He is currently working with James Carroll, Sulfolk University and The Actors' Shakespeare Project on American Requiem.

Shaun Bythell (Editor) has worked on BAFTA award winning documentaries for BBC2 and Channel 4.  He has an MA in Creative Sound Production from UWE and is currently editing and producing a documentary involving (amongst others) former Poet Laureate Andrew Motion.

BriAnna Olson (Producer) has a biography at right, enjoys plotting the financial and cultural facilitation of sustainable futures with a special focus on the arts and creative expression.

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