Addison — A forgotten coal-mining community becomes the place for a fight for survival in Brooklyn-based Aztec Economy’s original production Butcher Holler Here We Come, the gripping story of five coal miners trapped underground after an explosion collapses their mineshaft.
As the survivors wait for a rescue they do not think will come, they calm their shredded nerves with nervous levity by telling campfire ghost stories from their youth. Tensions ignite after they discover that sabotage caused the collapse, but uncovering the culprit brings little comfort when an even greater danger comes to light in the dark heart of the mine.
Sick, scared and hallucinating, the men’s characters reveal themselves as their ties of friendship and blood being to pull and rip at the seams. Soon not even their own stories can keep the tight grip of insanity at bay, and vicious games of torture mix with sudden betrayals and unexpected reconciliations.
In 65 minutes, Brooklyn-based Aztec Economy lives up to its mission to “provide a fresh perspective on American culture and its relationship to ritual, mythology, madness, dreams and deliverance” and the play weaves together the collected terror of the Appalachian miners with those of their settler ancestors and the Native Americans who lived on the land before that into a macabre vision of Indian rituals, demons and primordial monsters. The result fuses the creeping horror of The Shining with the tension of Mamet’s American Buffalo.
Although the production uses common motifs from both disaster and horror movies, each man’s strengths and sins are insightful as well as familiar, and the performances capture the horror of being in an ancient place where God has no power—but faith must see you through.
» Butcher Holler Here We Come repeats at 5 p.m. Saturday, March 8; and 2 p.m. Sunday, March 9 in the Stone Cottage at the Addison Theatre Centre
» WaterTower Theatre's 2014 Out of the Loop Fringe Festival is 10 days of live theater, dance, music and visual art. To see the full schedule, go here.