Halloween is an occasion that teeters between spook and spoof, a time when both the ghastly and the jovial can claim their moments under the autumn moon. Nestled in the theatrically rich soil of Windsor, Ontario, a new company aptly named A Warped Mind has sprung up like a nightshade in the moonlight, ready to deliver its own brand of trick and treat. As if summoned by the spirit of the season, A Warped Mind will debut its inaugural production with “Wicked Women of Windsor,” a comedy filled with witches, demons, and even a talking severed head. And it’s all happening for four bewitching nights, from October 27th to the 30th, at Windsor’s intimate gem: The Shadowbox Theatre.
This freshly-minted play, crafted by Windsor’s own Kevin Doak, is more than a Halloween-themed performance; it’s an ambitious gambit that intersects local talent, original storytelling, and a variety of comedic elements that range from dad jokes to adult-only innuendos. A Warped Mind and “Wicked Women of Windsor” are not merely adding to the area’s already vibrant arts scene; they are offering something slightly twisted, but utterly irresistible.
At its crux, “Wicked Women of Windsor” unfurls the tale of Crystal, a young witch who grapples with the dilemma of introducing her new boyfriend to her unorthodox family. Her sisters, not just content with being creatures of the night, are resolved to wreck the blossoming romance. Throw into the mix a father who is a literal talking head in a lantern, and you have the trappings of a comedy that teeters between the absurd and the poignant.
“I think the title gets across that the play is an original creation, written by a Windsorite. And that the main villains and characters are powerful women,” said Doak. “The wicked part might give a clue about the Halloween themed comedy.”
In a culture saturated by recycled narratives, Doak’s creation stands out as a refreshingly original endeavor, marrying a myriad of comedic elements. From pun-dad jokes to darker, adult-oriented innuendos, the play promises to be a rollercoaster ride of emotions and humor.
“It is a comedy and you should expect to laugh,” Doak elaborated. “There are jokes, situational humor, word play, absurdist humor, puns and dad jokes. Also, much of the humor is adult-oriented innuendo. So we ask for adults only to attend.”
The selection of The Shadowbox Theatre as the venue is far from arbitrary. With a maximum seating capacity of just 60, the intimate ambiance enhances the theatrical experience. “I fell in love with The Shadowbox when attending a show there,” Doak recounted. “I wrote ‘Wicked Women of Windsor’ with that stage and space in mind. The performers do not need a microphone, the audience can see every expression without exaggeration.”
The play also serves as the debut for A Warped Mind Production Company, aptly named to encapsulate Doak’s desire for theatrical edginess. “You shouldn’t have heard of us before,” said Doak, smiling. “I just made the production company up. I long to see something different, maybe edgy. I have wanted a Halloween experience to remember, so I wrote the thing I’ve been craving to find. I wrote the story I wanted to see. Something slightly warped.”
Doak attributes the creative stimulus for the play to the quirky narratives of yesteryears and the vivid imagination of directors like Tim Burton. “The old black and white TV show called ‘The Munsters’ and ‘The Adam’s Family.’ The dark humor of Tim Burton’s ‘Nightmare Before Christmas.’ Yeah, I can find elements of all three in the story, dialogue, and feel.”
Windsor has always been a cauldron of artistic creativity, but with the advent of A Warped Mind and its premiere production, the city’s theatre scene seems poised for a deliciously strange new chapter.
For those interested in reserving tickets, they can be purchased online at postproductionswindsor.ca.