HAUNTED VIEWING from home* – Showtimes
Tuesday through Sunday at 8 pm
Saturdays at 8 pm and 12 Midnight
HAUNTED VIEWING in the theater – Showtimes
Oct. 22, 23, & 24 and Oct. 29, 30 & 31 at 8 pm
IN-THEATER STREAMING watch parties @ 233 Pearl Street, Hartford, CT 06103
Review by Kitty Drexel
ZOOM/Hartford, CT — The new house/new problems horror movie trope follows a naive (usually white) family moving into their dream home. Strange, spooky things happen and the idiot family stays until the bodies are piled up. Blood can hemorrhage from the walls and this family thinks it’s a tax write-off.
Speaking of obtuse families, Jared Mezzocchi’s lovely family moved into a 200-year-old house in Enfield, New Hampshire in 1977. TheaterWorks Hartford’s production of Someone Else’s House tracks the Mezzocchis move into a gorgeous mansion in Enfield. Mom and Dad had new jobs teaching at the elementary school. The kids had a pastoral town to grow up in. It should have been perfect.
Their new house was previously owned by the prestigious Johnson family. The Johnsons were a fixture of Enfield, NH. Their legacy can still be traced through historical documents to this day. Theirs was a family full of life… And Death!
Jared Mezzocchi details the family’s chilling hauntings through interviews, historical newspaper clips, architectural plans, and photos. He swears his accounts are real. “This is my family’s true story. The house you see in the picture (TWH poster) is an actual photo taken just before a series of terrifying events began to unfold….” he said.
The streamed from home experience of Someone Else’s House begins 30 minutes before the performance starts. Home audiences will receive an email the afternoon of their scheduled streaming performance. Please have a candle, your updated Zooming device, and your unopened Conjuring Package at the ready. Audiences in the theatre should arrive at TheatreWorks Hartford with plenty of time to settle into their seats.
When you join the meeting by clicking the provided email link, you will be greeted by a host who will give you instructions that reiterates the instructions provided by the theatre: audio and video are to be on (so the actors know you’re out there), no virtual backgrounds, no late seating; do gird your loins for a spooky time. There will be no intermission.
Someone Else’s House was fun. Mezzocchi delivers his narrative sincerely with the confidence of a man who isn’t afraid of malicious ghosts. He spins a good yarn. I wanted to believe him and I did, unfinished nightmare basement be damned.
The virtual performance’s sound and visual designs were effective. The jumpscares did give us a good jolt but we recovered from quickly. They added to the overall suspense of the production. The pacing remained consistent but not unbearable. If there were recorded sections of the production, they were seamlessly edited into the live-action segments.
Audiences should temper their viewing based on their preferences. I’m a chicken with no tolerance for suspense. I was spooked. My wife, who is not bothered by horror or suspense, was not spooked. I believe in ghosts. My lovely wife ignored me when I questioned whether our apartment’s ghosts were uppity from watching the show with us. To each their own.
Someone Else’s House’s believability will vary from person to person. If you believe in ghosts, this show may be 100% probable. Mezzocchi sprinkles his script with enough facts about Enfield and the Johnsons (who did exist) that he’s convincing. Don’t let anyone get in the way of your seasonal good time.
If you don’t believe in the supernatural, then approach this virtual play the way you would any fantasy: with grains of salt. It’s meant to be Halloween-y, spooktacular fun. Don’t ruin someone else’s good time with senseless debunking, you buzzkill.
Someone Else’s House was first produced in April 2021 as a world premiere production by Geffen Playhouse, in association with Virtual Design Collective, as part of the Los Angeles theater’s groundbreaking Geffen Stayhouse live, virtual and interactive series.