Two very different local productions of Henry Jamess famous 1898 horror tale, The Turn of the Screw, will scare the heebie-jeebies out of you.
You can catch the Durango interpretation at 7 p.m. today at the Durango Public Library. Its a one-hour readers theater performance written and directed by local actor Judy Hook. And its free.
The second version will take place in the Pagosa Springs Center for the Arts beginning this coming weekend and running three weekends all told.
Thingamajig Theatre Company will present playwright Jeffrey Hatchers full-length adaptation based on James scary story.
Heres the plot for the story: A young governess travels to an English manor to oversee two orphaned children.
She learns shes not the first governess. And she learns the horrible truth that a Miss Jessel drowned herself after learning she was pregnant by the suspiciously evil Peter Quint.
Soon after Miss Jessels body was found, Quints death was also discovered. Specters of the two dead servants have been haunting the children to chilling effects.
What to do? Its never quite clear in the James story whether Jessel and Quint are real people returned from the dead, mere ghosts or entirely figments of imagination.
Modern readers look upon this horror classic as a psychological thriller full of suspense and repressed sexuality.
Such is the gift of a great writer that he can create ambiguity and suspense by employing the readers imagination. Tonights Durango Spoken Word Series will resume with a one-time-only presentation of The Turn of the Screw.
Adapted by Hook, the Durango version begins with an introduction by Fort Lewis College Professor Emerita and Henry James scholar Shaila Van Sickle.
Then Hook will narrate joined by local storyteller Sari Ross as the housekeeper and local actor Tanya Milchen as the young governess.
If you havent been to a readers theater production before, its storytelling with a turn of the dramatic screw. Highly concentrated, the story unfolds as all readers look directly at the audience to spin the tale.
Founders of Pagosas Thingamajig Theatre, Tim and Laura Moore, will star in the Hatcher adaptation. Thingamajig performances have proved so popular in Pagosa that founders have extended the run.
Because each version will be different from the original work and each other, why not read the novella and then see both productions?
Judith Reynolds is a Durango writer, artist and critic. Reach her at email@example.com.