Here's the setup: Two previously unknown scripts by horror writer Meridian Welch, "The Dark Mansion's Curse" and "Captain Steadfast Meets Dr. Draculanus," were recently found in the catacombs beneath the Russell Tripp Performance Center at Linn-Benton Community College.
The original plays will be performed for the first time Friday night on the LBCC stage as part of "Scarewaves."
"Scarewaves' is in the style of classic radio drama, presented as a horror program and an adventure serial, but actually a comedy," says writer-director, Michael Winder. "Actors will have scripts like in reader's theater, but we'll also have live sound effects."
Is it a coincidence that "Meridian Welch" is an anagram for Michael Winder? You be the judge.
In "Scarewaves," The actors will be seated at a table with their scripts, reading into microphones as if they were live in a recording studio.
Winder said the use of Foley sound effects and the strange things the sound artists will do to make certain sounds should get some laughs from audience members.
"Whenever there are footsteps, a creaking door, or thunder and lightning — there's a lot of this stuff — then we have to make that happen live, with shoes on a piece of plywood (footsteps) or shaking a sheet of aluminum (thunder)," he said.
The first episode, "The Dark Mansion's Curse," is a comedic riff on old horror and suspense programs like "Dark Shadows," Winder said.
In it, a young woman, named Veronica White (Bernadette Bascom), is traveling to become the governess at the mansion estate of the mysterious Damian LeStatler (Andrew Beck). Also at this mansion are the creepy butler Granthorpe (Dakota Cloud) and LeStatler's son, Franklin (Scott Trout).
"Captain Steadfast Meets Dr. Draculanus" is a parody of adventure serials like "Superman" and "Captain Midnight," Winder said.
It has the main hero Captain Steadfast (Trout) and his sidekick Tommy (Cloud) battling Dr. Draculanus (David Parrish), and, naturally, damsels will be in distress.
The supporting characters and sound effects in both plays are provided by Winder and Harriet Owen-Nixon.
"We also have fake commercials and product placement in the old radio style, even a celebrity endorsement from Jimmy Stewart," Winder said.
Winder said the audience will not only enjoy the cast's parody of classic story types, but what they will add to the performance.
"I've given my cast some free rein with ad-libbing and improvising within the script, even interacting with the audience — certainly not something you can do on the radio," he said.
After covering the costs to use the Russell Tripp Performance Center, all proceeds from ticket sales will go to support this year's Midsummer Arts Festival, Winder said.
Midsummer Arts, a 501c3 nonprofit, is a festival with free arts and crafts activities that takes place on the first Saturday in August at Monteith River Park in Albany.