Lottery HouseIn the 1959 horror film House on Haunted Hill, Vincent Price plays a millionaire who invites five people to spend the night in a haunted house with the promise that whoever stays in the house the whole night will earn a cool $10,000. Angelica Howland raises the stakes in her modern update on this classic story on more than one level in Lottery House. The new play revolves around five reality show contestants competing to be the last one standing by spending three nights in a dilapidated house rigged with cameras for the chance to win $3 million.
Presented as a workshop reading at Now & Then Creative Company, Lottery House is a delightfully macabre and impeccably acted piece of work. Directed by Louis Farber, the cast of six (five contestants plus one harried production assistant) read scripts on music stands. While that may sound “untheatrical” on paper, the combination of deft direction, fully engaged performances, and ghostly sound effects (courtesy of the dramaturge pounding his fist on the table) were just as engaging as a “proper” production. Howland’s script was the real MVP, though, pulling off a smooth tonal shift from a hilarious character piece to a bloody, desperate horror story. Laced with memorable characters and sly foreshadowing, Lottery House will be A-plus Halloween programming for theaters smart enough to jump on it while they can. Ashley Naftule
'A City, Modified'It looked like a family reunion during Third Friday at Modified Arts. The gallery celebrated two decades as part of the downtown creative scene for "A City, Modified." Established and emerging artists and members of the community eager to see the exhibition filled the interior with conversations about the city and the intersections of creativity with the community.
For a community swept up in rampant development in recent years, Third Friday’s opening was a chance to briefly hit the pause button – considering both the roots of Modified Arts and its potential for helping to create a city that’s more creative, equitable, and diverse. Lynn Trimble
Disguises, false appearances, and different identities were on display at First Studio’s "Masked." The 33 submitted pieces by Arizona artists ranged from physical masks to paintings. Throughout the exhibit, quotes printed on card stock were hidden in between submissions. One said, “There’s freedom that comes with wearing a mask. Masks let wearers shrug off their identities and become someone else.”
The exhibit was loosely displayed with the studio’s history as being the first television studio in Arizona. In one corner, an old '60s-era television was set up underneath a masked clown on stilts. Another work inspired by Día de los Muertos featured a headpiece with black feathers and beading. Sara Edwards