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An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror

The Players’ Ring Late Night Summer Series will feature An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror with a selection of violent melodramas, suspenseful thrillers, and even a grisly song. Produced by John Herman & Friends. Directed by Michael Ficara, E. Christopher Clark, and John Herman. 2 WEEKENDS ONLY, July 6th through July 15, Fridays and Saturdays at 10:00 p.m., Sundays at 9:00 p.m. To reserve tickets, call (603) 436-8123 or purchase them online at And like An Evening of Steampunk & Robot Theatre and An Evening of Apocalyptic Theatre, proceeds will benefit local charities and nonprofits! (More details after the poster!)

An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror (John Herman)(poster #1 by Matt Talbot of

Starting in 1897, a deconsecrated church in Paris held a lurid attraction, the Théâtre du Grand Guignol. It was the Moulin Rouge of terror and the cradle of modern horror. Now we are bringing the show to you!

(one of our props)

“An Evening of Grand Guignol: Theatre of Terror” will include new works of horror by Bryan White and E. Christopher Clark as well as an adapted work by John Herman.

Bryan is the creator of Cinema Suicide, the multiple Rondo-nominated blog dedicated to horror in its many formats. Bryan also writes for the popular Zombie Bomb anthology comic book from Terminal Press, and his work is seen in Screem and Rue Morgue Magazine.

Chris is a playwright and author whose latest work Crossroads (or The Piano of Death) opened the Late Night Summer Series. His writing has been published or is forthcoming in Commonthought, Device, Entelechy International, Literary Matters, and Mill City Stories: Tales of Lowell and the Merrimack Valley.

“André de Lorde, original Grand Guignol director, judged success on how many audience members fainted during performances,” says John, who will re-imagine one of the masterpieces of the genre, André de Lorde’s Un Crime Dans une Maison de Fous (1925). “We are considering a special audience section with ponchos provided for blood splatter. Needless to say, this is not a show for children.”

(poster #2 by Jeremy Couturier of

CALL FOR WRITERS: Apocalyptic Theatre

It’s the end of the world and I feel fine. I’m looking for original 10-minute APOCALYPTIC one-act plays. All submitted plays will be published on the Web as a Creative Commons licensed apocalyptic short play anthology that will include an original album of music and collection of visual art inspired by the plays. Select plays will be produced on stage at The Players’ Ring Theater of Portsmouth, NH, March 9th through March 25th 2012 with proceeds going to charity.

Last year’s similar production generated 17 new plays, 8 original songs, and 8 illustrations. The nine play stage show: An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre raised $3000 dollars for charities including A Safe Place, 20/20 VisionQuest, and the Lamprey Arts and Culture Alliance. The production also garnered national attention with coverage in over 100 individual arts and culture blogs.


Sign up by dropping a comment below.


All plays will be submitted to me digitally: john.c.herman“at” with the subject heading: APOCALYPTIC PLAY SUBMISSION. The final due date for play submissions is October 31st, 2011 at midnight. See what I did there? The roster of plays to be staged will be announced December 15th. At that time, they will be fast tracked into production. The remaining plays will be distributed to visual and music artists for the creation of complimentary works.


“Apocalyptic” sounds pretty dark, but I encourage you to explore any aspect of it that you wish. I hope to receive comedies, romances, and maybe even a musical. Check out the following link for inspiration: Apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction


In late September, I will host a gathering for playwrights who want to workshop their submissions. The physical gathering will take place in New Hampshire, but there will also be a live web video chat workshop occurring at the same time for playwrights outside of New England. In order to be notified of the exact date, time and location, you must sign up by submitting a comment below.

Next: Sign up. Write a play. Spread the word!

24 Hour Novel Project

Dream of writing a novel but can’t find time to write? You may need to rethink that. A team of wordsmiths from across the country wrote an entire novel collaboratively in one day: 23 authors, 1 illustrator, 24 hours. The 24 Hour Novel Project led by New Hampshire artist and writer John Herman was a featured work at the inaugural NewMediator Art Show at Nighthawk Books in Highland Park, New Jersey, and viewers around the world watched via the web as every word was composed in real-time.  The collaboration culminated in a free Creative Commons licensed e-book available for download below.

To get the novel quickly, download the OVERFLY PDF which will work with most devices including KINDLE, DROID, iPAD, iPHONE, iPOD, or your personal computer. The formatting is going to be a little altered for each device, but hopefully it will be very readable.

If you want a file specifically designed for your NOOK or KINDLE, then you need to download the novel via one of the hosted links below. FYI: The file host makes you wait briefly before you can download the file in order to force you to glance at their advertisers. Wait 25 seconds then click REGULAR DOWNLOAD.



Please explore our author’s biographies and links below. Also feel free to congratulate them using the hashtag #24HrNovel on Twitter.

M.F. Bloxam – M.F. lives in Portsmouth, NH.  She is the author of THE NIGHT BATTLES (The Permanent Press, 2008).  Learn more about her work at

Kathy Boss – The author of two children’s books, Kathy, was born in Australia, raised in Canada and now lives in New England. She is currently working on a novel about a “love child” born in the 1970s who, as soon as she is old enough, flees her parents liberal, nomadic lifestyle. She turns mainstream and ends up so buried in the safety of suburbia that she yearns for the freedom of her youth, but cannot forget its price.

Dan Brian – Dan is a former music journalist and current fiction writer. He regularly fortifies his apocalyptic-scenario escape routes and consumes more Taco Bell than healthy. He reviews whiskey on the Dandy Scotch Brawlers podcast and exorcises writing demons on his blog.

Kathleen Cavalaro – Although screenplay writing is her area of comfort, Kathleen has also dabbled in lyrics, short stories and poetry. Her first play, “At My Window,” is set to open the 20th season at the Players’ Ring theater in Portsmouth, NH, in September 2011 (starring the person below me).

E. Christopher Clark – Chris is an author, educator, and all-around geek who is passionate about storytelling in all its forms. The founder of the pop culture blog Geek Force Five, his work has also been published in Commonthought, Device, The Bradford ReView, and in Literary Matters, the newsletter of the Association of Literary Scholars, Critics, and Writers.

Deanna L. Cooley – Deanna, 24, graduated from Thomas College in Waterville, Maine, in 2009 with a Bachelors Degree in Communications – English. She is currently working on completing her first novel.

Benjamin Kane Ethridge – Ben is author of the novel BLACK & ORANGE, recently nominated for a Bram Stoker Award in Superior Achievement in a First Novel. His official website presence is Purchase BLACK & ORANGE, trade paperback or on Kindle via Amazon.

Chuck Galle – Chuck authored STORIES I NEVER TOLD MY DAUGHTER, a memoir of a raucous life before, during, as well after the so-called Sixties. He is currently working on a “cozy” mystery story with an itinerant actor sticking his nose into murders among his cast members. Chuck also acts on stage and screen and has been seen in fifteen TV commercials over the past three years. His website is

Jasmine Giacomo – Jasmine writes in the fantasy and mystery genres from Washington State, where she lives with her husband and two small children. She also enjoys geocaching, history, science and puzzles, holds a black belt in Danzan Ryu Jujitsu, and particularly enjoys reading and writing fight scenes. Check out her blog at Worlds of Jasmine for free short fiction or purchase books (ebook and print) from Amazon.

Matthew Gold – Matt is a writer of speculative fiction and lover of robots the world over.  His last book THE WONDERS AT YOUR FEET deals with themes of murder, fame, and infamy alike and can be purchased through Amazon and other online retailers.  Check out his blog, where he writes about technology, politics, and mental illness.

R.W.W. Greene – Rob is a former journalist turned high-school writing teacher now pursuing his MFA in fiction writing at Southern New Hampshire University. He writes fiction and records podcasts (See: Peek inside his pulsing brain at his blog.

John Herman – 24 Hour Novel Project creator John is an artist, writer, and web adventurer. His projects often explore the crossroads of society and technology. He is also working on his first (solo) novel. His website is Follow him on Twitter: @johnherman

Jasmin Hunter – Jasmin is a freelance writer and photographer with a weekly article in the Seacoast Scene.  She has also contributed stories and photos to Experience Magazine, The Portsmouth Herald, Fosters, The Wire and Portland Phoenix.  Other credits include the monologue Sundance recently performed at The Players’ Ring Theatre in Portsmouth, NH. Website, Twitter @jasminhunter.

Steve Johnson – Steve is a writer, actor, radio DJ for WSCA 106.1 FM and producer of charity storytelling event A Winter’s Tale. He is currently pursuing a side career as an amateur perfumer and fragrance writer.

James Patrick Kelly – Jim has written novels, short stories, essays, reviews, poetry, plays and planetarium shows.  His short novel BURN won the Science Fiction Writers of America’s Nebula Award in 2007 and he has won the World Science Fiction Society’s Hugo Award twice: in 1996, for his novelette “Think Like A Dinosaur” and in 2000, for his novelette, “Ten to the Sixteenth to One.” His website is

Christopher Klemmer – Christopher Klemmer is a sketch comedy writer for Portsketch and lives in Portsmouth, NH. Whether it be alarming fellow middle school peers with disturbing stories in creative writing classes or writing press releases as a sports information director in college, writing has been a constant thread in his life. His favorite book is THE STAND by Stephen King but he feels his life is more like “The Lottery” by Shirley Jackson.

Margaret McAleese – Margaret’s full-length play, There’s a Girl in Boston, was commissioned by Yellow Taxi Productions in Nashua, NH (considered for the American Theatre Critics Association’s New Play Award). Her ten-minute play, Captured, was selected for New Hampshire Theatre Project’s New Works Festival, and her short play, Seven Sisters, appeared in An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre at The Players’ Ring in Portsmouth, NH. Margaret’s essay, From Haystacks to Handbrakes, was the first-place winner of the “My Brooklyn” annual writing festival at the Brooklyn Public Library in 2007.

Joe Stanganelli – Joe is a Boston-based writer, communications consultant, and attorney.  In addition to writing scripts, songs, and stories, Joe writes about business and technology topics for United Business Media and other outlets. Follow him on Twitter: @JoeStanganelli.

Laura Thomas – Laura lives in beautiful Portsmouth, NH with her boyfriend and their two spoiled dogs. This is her first time working on a novel; usually when she tries to sit down to write she is distracted by the sudden need to do laundry, drinking more coffee, and wondering if she could survive alone in Jurassic Park. Laura is passionate about improv and sketch comedy; find out more about her group Portsketch.

Jillian Thiele – English teacher, writer, and improvisor, Jillian proudly hails from NH, where she enjoys performing with improv comedy troupe Stranger Than Fiction, directing student productions, and spending time with family at home and in NY.  A traveler, indie music lover, and cine-phile, Jillian appreciates the nooks and crannies of life, finding time to write when she’s not correcting papers. Follow her on Twitter: @jillianthiele

R.T. Tompkins – R.T. is a robot prototype who favors tacos and music above all else. Check out his experimental instrumental band Winterstar and fabulously offensive podcast The Waysiders. Follow him on Twitter: @onewordheadline

Dan Tuohy – Dan is a journalist, son of a publican, son of a sailor, and son of a gun. During the 7th Inning Stretch, he stretches. And sings. His Info-IV is Twitter @tuohy His website is

Erika J. Wilson – Erika studied at the University of New Hampshire, graduating magna cum laude with a B.A. in honors English.  She is heavily involved with the production and writing departments of DARWiN’S WAiTiNG ROOM comedy troupe and Shoe Slung Films.  She enjoys script and creative writing, poetry and editing with hopes of someday becoming a published author.

And our cover art illustrator:

Stephen Bobbett – Stephen is a freelance illustrator, writer and visual designer living in southern New Hampshire. His work has appeared locally in The Wire, Foster’s Daily Democrat, and the Trees & Hills Comic Group. He is currently publishing a series of comics called Daydream, based on the nightly subconscious lives of real people, which you can find at Twitter: @stephenbobbett

24 Hour Novel Project

Madcap Jane Austen Show Hits the Stage at ImprovBoston

Wheel of Austen - directed by John Herman

A new improv comedy show I am directing is finally ready for the main stage! Wheel of Austen, an hour-long improvised comedy inspired by the works of Jane Austen plays Fridays in May and June at 8pm at ImprovBoston. Audiences will watch Boston’s top comedians bring a new Jane Austen-inspired novel to life as classic characters encounter new situations.  Throughout each performance, audience members will spin the “Wheel of Austen” as the cast plays with the conventions of Jane Austen’s work in unexpected ways. Wheel of Austen stars seasoned improvisers Noah Sheola, Chris Bujold, Michelle Boncek, Benjamin Scurria, Alex LeBaron, Elyse Schuerman, Lexie Koss, and Jenna O’Brien.

Dates:  May 6, May 13, May 20, May 27, June 3, June 10, June 17, June 24.
Time: 8pm for all dates.
Price:  $16 general admission, $12 for students and seniors
Location: Main Theater at ImprovBoston, 40 Prospect St, Cambridge MA.
For tickets & reservations, please visit

Steampunk and Robot Anthology: Theatre, Music, Illustrations

Here, for your enjoyment, are 17 plays, 8 original songs, and 8 illustrations published under a Creative Commons “Attribution Non-commercial Share Alike” license. Also, come see the companion stage show: An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre! Now playing at The Players’ Ring Theater.

THEATRE: (click below to download a zip file)

17 original steampunk and robot plays by Jessa Rowan, Jacquelyn Benson, Phil Kliger, E. Christopher Clark, Jon Frazier, John Herman, Margaret McAleese, David Mariello, R. Tompkins and Brandon “Our Hero” (sic) Gretter, Judi Currie, Bob Holt, Brian Spielvogel, Sean Myers, Leslie Poston, The Attic Bits, Chuck Galle, and Chris Bujold.

MUSIC: (click a song title to listen)

“Balloon Knot” by Jon Briggs – inspired by “Fabrication” by Bob Holt

“Camping” by Natasha Duchene – inspired by “Camping” by Judi Currie

“I’m Too Much” by Joseph K Murphy and Matt Babcock – inspired by the play “Progress” by Sean Myers

“Of Thee I Sing” by Sean Hurley – inspired by “The Smokers” by Leslie Poston, adapted by E. Christopher Clark and Leslie Poston

“Robot” by Brian Spielvogel – inspired by Untitled #1 by The Attic Bits

“Staring into the Abyss (With Apologies to Dr Nietzsche, Einstein and Chuck Gale)” by robotmonkeyarm – inspired by “With Apologies to Dr Nietzsche” by Chuck Galle

“Wings of Brass” by The Attic Bits – inspired by Oly 33 Motive by Brian Spielvogel

“Zyl” by Phil Kliger – inspired by “Zylphia” by Chris Bujold

ILLUSTRATIONS: (click an image to enlarge)

Art by Matt Talbot - inspired by "Zylphia" by Chris Bujold

Art by Matt Talbot - inspired by "Zylphia" by Chris Bujold

Art by Stephen Bobbett - inspired by "Camping" by Judie Currie

Art by Stephen Bobbett - inspired by "Camping" by Judie Currie

Art by David Chevalier - inspired by "Untitled #1" by The Attic Bits

Art by David Chevalier - inspired by "Untitled #1" by The Attic Bits

Art by Jeremy Couturier - inspired by "The Smokers" by Leslie Poston, adapted by E. Christopher Clark and Leslie Poston

Art by Jeremy Couturier - inspired by "The Smokers" by Leslie Poston, adapted by E. Christopher Clark and Leslie Poston

Art by David Chevalier - inspired by "Progress" by Sean Myers

Art by David Chevalier - inspired by "Progress" by Sean Myers

Art by Matt Talbot - inspired by "With Apologies to Doktor Nietzsche" by Chuck Galle

Art by Matt Talbot - inspired by "With Apologies to Doktor Nietzsche" by Chuck Galle

Art by Stephen Bobbett - inspired by "Fabrication" by Bob Holt

Art by Stephen Bobbett - inspired by "Fabrication" by Bob Holt

Art by Jeremy Couturier - inspired by "Oly 33 Motive" by Brian Spielvogel

Art by Jeremy Couturier - inspired by "Oly 33 Motive" by Brian Spielvogel

I am going to rappel a 24-story office building.

This weekend kicks off a three week run of nine plays I am producing for three charities, specifically those charities are: 2020 VisionQuest in support of Guiding Eyes for the Blind and the New Hampshire Association for the Blind; A Safe Place which provides shelter, court advocacy, referrals and comprehensive counseling programs for victims of domestic violence; and the Newmarket Heritage & Cultural Center Committee for the establishment of an arts and culture community space in the town where I live. On top of that, I am going to rappel a 24 story office building. That’s this Saturday, sometime between 1pm and 4pm. You know who rappel’s from buildings? This guy:

Yes, you heard that right. This weekend I am going over the edge of a high rise in downtown Manchester, NH, specifically the Brady Sullivan Building. Here it is:

Yep. Why am I doing this? Yesterday I was invited to join a team with Mike Teixeira, who is raising money for the BSA Daniel Webster Council through an incredible opportunity called XtremeDescent. Listen, I have done some scary things in the past. Last year I recreated Michael Jackson’s 1995 MTV Music Awards dance solo in front of hundreds of people. I had never danced solo in front of people in my life… let alone on stage. Here’s a photo of me doing that:

Now that was scary, but nothing beats this. The reason I mentioned the charities at the beginning of this post is because I realized that the first opportunity I had to benefit a charity of any kind was through the BSA Daniel Webster Council when I was nine years old. I was a cub scout. Frankly I don’t always support all the BSA policies nowadays, but I do recognize (and am thankful for) the opportunities the organization gave me to give back to the community. Those experiences built character. So, that’s it. You can come and watch. You (or your business) can make a donation on our (just created) team page (search for the Digital Descenders!) –or, even better, you can create your own donation page, raise some money, and you can rappel from a 24 story office building too. How cool is that? You can can be Batman/woman and help young people build character at the same time. Spread the word. And keep an eye on my Twitter feed for details as they develop.

An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre

Agents of Queen Victoria search for a secret weapon on the outer reaches of space. A disgruntled robot gets family counseling. A mad scientist aims to destroy the world with the help of a cyber-head and time traveling brothers… “An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre” debuts nine original short plays at The Players’ Ring Theater of Portsmouth September 24th through October 10th. The show starts at 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 7pm Sunday Sept 26th and Oct 3rd, and 2pm on Sunday, Oct 10th. To reserve tickets, call (603) 436-8123 or purchase tickets online at Add yourself to the Facebook event page too!

(poster by Matt Talbot)

Local artist and writer John Herman produced the evening, collecting a diverse roster of writers, actors, directors, musicians, and more to bring the shows to life for charity. The directors include Chuck Galle, Emily Briand, Justin Scarelli, Chris Clark, and Tara McDonough. Proceeds earned by the show will be distributed to three charities including New Hampshire Association of the Blind’s 2020 VisionQuest.

The evening includes live music performances by experimental electronic duo The Attic Bits (see them the night before opening night when they play with The Books). Check out the press about The Attic Bits new album, Dance of the Dragon.

The evening also features elaborate steampunk and robot props by Sean O’Connell. Watch the props as they are made on his production blog. In addition to the theater experience, audience members will be given a web address where they can download original music, comic book art, and eight more original plays published as a Creative Commons licensed steampunk and robot anthology.

Reserve your tickets early! Hey look, we are on BoingBoing (one of the most read blogs on planet Earth):

"An Evening of Steampunk and Robot Theatre"

Listed below are:

* Plays that will be released online at midnight September 23rd with original music and visual art created by The Attic Bits, Brian Spielvogel, Matt Talbot, robotmonkeyarm, David Chevalier, Sean Hurley, Joseph K. Murphy, Jon Briggs, Phil Kliger, Natasha Duchene, Stephen Bobbet, and Jeremy Couturier.

+ Plays that will be released online at midnight September 23rd as well as staged at The Players Ring Theater in Portsmouth, NH, September 24th through October 10th, 8pm Fridays and Saturdays, 7pm Sunday Sept 26th and Oct 3rd, 2pm on Sunday Oct 10th, directed by Tara McDonough, Emily Briand, Chuck Galle, John Herman, E. Christopher Clark, and Justin Scarelli –with robots and other props made by Sean O’Connell and live music directed by The Attic Bits.

Camping by Judi Currie *
Dead Ringer by David Mariello +
Fabrication by Bob Holt *
G.E. Rock and the Telectroscopic Transmission by Phil Kliger +
Oly 33 Motive by Brian Spielvogel *
Pancakes by John Herman +
Progress by Sean Myers *
Ro-Bro by Jon Frazier +
Seven Sisters by Margaret McAleese +
The Smokers by Leslie Poston – Adapted by Leslie Poston and E. Christopher Clark *
Unplugged by Jessa Rowan +
Untitled #1 by The Attic Bits *
Updates by R. Tompkins and Brandon “Our Hero” Gretter +
Victory by Jacquelyn Benson +
War is Coming by E. Christopher Clark +
With Apologies to Doktor Nietzsche by Chuck Galle *
Zylphia by Chris Bujold *