Blood, Gore, and More: An Interview with Hookman Director Allie Moss

By Annie Sears

Director Allie Moss with the cast of Hookman. Photo by Taylor Steinbeck.

As Halloween approaches, the Young Conservatory is preparing something spooky: Lauren Yee’s psychological thriller Hookman. Director Allie Moss, who also serves as A.C.T.’s Literary Manager and Artistic Associate, describes the show as “a slasher comedy about trauma.” It’s a coming-of-age-story for Lexi, who has just moved away to college and experienced some pretty crazy events—like a lunatic running around and slashing girls’ throats. We sat down with Moss to hear about this thrilling and thought-provoking play.

What draws you to this script?
The story centers on a 17-year-old college freshman, and we don’t often see stories with a young woman as the central character. Her story is important, and it’s written in the vernacular of young women. It uses language that often gets dismissed or coded as informal or unimportant. That’s very attractive to me. The script also offers a really interesting perspective on trauma. It explores trauma as something that’s very scary and can be a real roadblock, but on the flip side, trauma can push someone forward to get to the next stage of their life. It’s exciting to see both of those things in one play.

So the script deals with serious subject matter, but it’s a comedy?
Right. In rehearsal, we talk a lot about how the things that happen to the main character aren’t funny, but the absurdity of other characters’ reactions is funny. We can see that this is crazy, and because we’re laughing, we’ll realize that this isn’t how we should respond in real life.

What else do you hope your students get out of the experience?
I think it’s great for them to get the broad strokes of going off to college and trying to find yourself. It’s an experience that they’ll have in a couple years, or for some of them, next year. That’s not something you really get to explore before you get there, even though it’s very much on your mind.

Any memorable rehearsal moments?
Our first special effects day was fun. There’s blood—so much blood! I don’t want to give too much away, but the actors have been learning about the different mechanisms for stage blood. Sometimes it’s a thing you hold in your hand, or wear under your clothes, or push inside a prop. That’s a cool thing they’re getting to experience.

Want to experience it yourself? Hookman runs Wednesday October 24 through Saturday October 27 in The Rueff at A.C.T.’s Strand Theater. Get your tickets today!

Luci Paczkowski and Claire Bae experiment with blood at rehearsal.
Photo by Taylor Steinbeck.

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