By Andrew Hawcroft


Adapted from the stories of M.R. James

An Unsettling Evening is a deliberately lean and sparse theatrical production that adapts five of M.R. James’ most famous short ghost stories and plays them out in a single production of atmospheric chills, heart-stopping shocks and slow-burning dread.
It will be masterclass in creating mood and hair-raising tension, telling tales where that which is not seen, is infinitely more chilling than that which is.  An Unsettling Evening will take audiences out of the comfortable world of the logical, technological and pragmatic, and return them to the childhood fears that hide inside all of us until brought out by the right circumstances. 
The five short stories chosen to be adapted are;

CANON ALBERIC’S  SCRAPBOOK:   An English amateur archeologist travels to a remote cathedral in France in search of artifacts to outdo his similarly-motivated friends.  As night falls, eerie, mocking laughter arouses his interest in the building, and a pale and nervous verger shows him a book that suggests an unpleasant possibility as to the culprit.

A WARNING TO THE CURIOUS:   A young History student of good background has squandered his inheritance money on the fast life in London.   He arrives in the English seaside town of Seaburg with the aim of replenishing his fortune by digging up the legendary third crown of East Anglia, buried somewhere on the coastline. Unfortunately for him, he will be successful.

NUMBER 13:    A traveling academic staying in Room 14 at a Denmark hotel, finds the quaint national tradition of having no rooms numbered 13 to be amusing….until the room beside his becomes occupied in the night-time hours by more than the salesman staying in Room 12

OH WHISTLE AND I’LL COME TO YOU MY LAD:  A schoolteacher, holidaying upon the desolate beaches of Burnstow, discovers an antiquated whistle whilst poking amongst a ruined Templar abbey.  Blowing the whistle attracts to him the increasingly undesirable attention of….something.

CASTING THE RUNES.    When a magazine editor refuses to publish the disturbing articles of a local self-professed master of the occult, he finds himself in mysterious possession of a slip of paper bearing strange Runic symbols and the English words…’Seven days are allowed’.  From then on, he cannot escape the rising feeling that he is being followed…and not by a man.

In the age of cynicism, MTV, the Human Genome Project and The God Delusion, An Unsettling Evening escorts the unsuspecting audience back to a time and place they had forgotten.  It will be an unsettling return, but a memorable one.
-  Andrew Hawcroft.

Copyright ©Andrew Hawcroft 08/01/2010

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