Spooky Action operates out of a small multi-use space on 16th Street NW that seats about 70 people. “Our work is intimate and really appeals to a small, hard-core audience of folks who love theater in a pure form. . . . We see this donation as a validation of what we’re already doing.”
Spooky Action received the gift in late spring, at which point Henrich set out to have the items appraised. That enormous undertaking resulted in Spooky Action opting to replace its normal fall production of 16 performances with a two-day staged reading. The theater plans to be back on a regular production schedule in February.
The theater will use some of the items — clothing for costumes, inexpensive pieces as props — and sell the rest at auction (sales in the District, New York, Paris and Geneva are scheduled) as well as at a gala event in March.
Money raised from the sales will go to increasing the size of the staff; Henrich works full-time with one part-time employee, and he plans to add two full-time staffers. Invested proceeds from the auctions are expected to finance 15 to 20 percent of Spooky Action’s operating budget in future seasons.
Christmas Carol season
This week, Backstage is gearing up for the holidays with three productions of “A Christmas Carol.” Even if you’ve memorized the story of the rich Grinch whose ghost-guided tour down memory lane leads him to embrace The Christmas Spirit Within, you’re bound to find something unexpected in the District area’s new takes on the classic.
Dress to impress at Ford’s
“A Christmas Carol” is probably the most conventional of all Christmas shows. But Emme Hall is anything but conventional.
The day I meet her, she has electric purple hair. Two days before, it was peroxide blond; before that, punk-rock pink. It spikes up an inch or so above her head. On breaks from her job as Ford’s Theatre’s costume manager, she heads back to her native California to do off-road racing.
Now, she is giving a grand tour of the costumes for this year’s production of “A Christmas Carol.” The Ford’s production has been a District tradition since 1980, with a new adaptation performed every five years. This is the third year of this incarnation.
“The women start off wearing this, called a hoop,” Hall says, stepping inside a contraption of boning shaped like the Liberty Bell. “These poor girls have to plan when they’re going to go to the bathroom.”
Hall retrieves a petticoat with more ruffles than there are tiers on a towering wedding cake, and she pulls a skirt over that. Her outfit spans the width of the hallway; the circumference of her dress is about six feet. On top of this, the actresses will wear camisoles and jackets.