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Redmoon's 'Boneshaker' Dreams A Different Kind Of Halloween

By Melissa Wiley in Arts & Entertainment on Oct 17, 2013 7:15PM

Halloween spells spectacle: ghosts, goblins, Elvira’s d├ęcolletage. But sometimes you want to do more than just gape with a painted rictus on your face as the masquerade waltzes past. You want to play—with fire—on a pipe organ whose every note sends a flame into the Chicago twilight. For restless vampires such as yourselves, Redmoon Theater’s warehouse becomes your personal dreamscape with its annual Boneshaker Friday, Nov. 1.

“Our Halloween events are about exploration, mystery, play and discovery, not gore and fear, which Halloween has disappointedly become about,” Artistic Director Frank Maugeri reflected on a recent tour of Redmoon’s new Pilsen headquarters. “Our event is more like a carnival, but then it’s not—it's more than that—because here you can determine your own experience. Take your own risks. Engage the unexpected.”

A choose-your-own-adventure party set to the music of Mucca Pazza, Boneshaker provides all the props needed for an All Hallow’s Eve where fantasy, not fear, decides the agenda.

“Many of our devices and contraptions intentionally invoke nostalgia, not because we want to revisit the past but because nostalgia, we think, evokes dream, wonder and memory,” Maugeri mused when asked why so many of Redmoon's accoutrements—baroque candelabras, oversized gramophone horns, stereo systems cum hansom cabs—conjure days gone by.

“Designing worlds of dream, wonder and memory create exceptional experiences for people's minds and spirits. It can, and often does, transform. Transform the way we see, think, feel and behave. Not only do you see a disco ball here, for instance, but you see the person on the ladder shining the light on the disco ball. Why? We don't want to create theatrical mystery but share with the audience how things work … The power lies with the dreamer. We’re both revealing the magic and showing how the magic happens so you cannot only experience the magic but go home and create it yourself.”

Sound a little like Oompa Loompas run amok with the keys to the chocolate factory? That’s just how Redmoon rolls. But you're invited to keep pace in an indoor skating rink. That or create your own underwater shadow puppets in a cozy living room nook, sprout inked wings in an airbrush tattoo parlor, or roast hotdogs inside a giant flaming candelabra, all while a cyclist wheels you drinks and a motorcycle carousel spins hauntingly round. And there really is a flaming pipe organ.

Tickets are $75 a person, a price tag that includes endless libations, food, and fantasy.

Redmoon Theatre is located at 2120 S. Jefferson.