Twin Cities Horror Festival XII: Two Reviews from Day Six. Songversation: We Have Been Told We Will Burn, Ghost in the Machine

TC Horror Festival Poster Image

With only one show left to see in the Festival myself and options for readers to see various shows narrowing, I thought I’d take a second to highlight a few of the shows I’d prioritize if you can’t make it to everything. Rasputin which as of this writing, in the wee hours of Wednesday Oct 25th, has two performances left Wednesday Oct. 25th at 6:00 PM and Sunday Oct. 29th at 4:30 PM. Marie-Jeanne Valet, Who Defeated La Bete du Gévaudan has two more performances as well Friday Oct. 27th at 7:30 PM and Saturday Oct 28th at 6:00 PM. Those are the two shows that are for me virtually tied for Best of Fest. For most impressive special effects and blood work and maybe scariest I recommend Choices which also has two performances left Thursday Oct. 26th at 6:00 PM and Sunday Oct. 29th at 7:30 PM. For simply the funniest and cleveriest I was surprised and delighted by Overtoun which actually has three more chances to be seen Wednesday Oct. 25th at 9:00 PM, Friday Oct. 27th at 10:30 PM, and Saturday Oct. 28th at 7:30 PM. Frankly my recommendation though is to see everything, which is still possible with the exception of Lock-In, which had it’s final performance on monday in the studio. It’s being replaced beginning Wednesday with Shadows Under Wabasha. For More information check out the Festivals website at to purchase tickets go to

Songversation: We have Been told We Will Burn falls under the category of most unique show in the festival. The creation of Shanan Custer, who also performs in Kin at this years TCHF, and Rhiannon Fiskradatz, is a variation on their Songversation shows that can be seen at Bryant Lake Bowl and Theatre. This was my first exposure to the duo’s Songversation format, but as a big fan of Custer’s whom I’ve followed for years I was confident I would see something special. The theme of this episode is witches and it’s a melding of visual essay and song with elements of ceremony to not really explore the subject so much as meditate on it. While there are images of what we traditionally think of as witches in the Halloween sense, the focus is more on the concept as it has been used to try and control or destroy that which threatens the Patriarchal hierarchy. One specific example is that of Sinead O’Conner who spoke truths that the status quo wanted to ignore and so like the the witches of Salem she was suppressed undermined and devalued by a rigged system. While featuring some eye opening information to be sure, you’ll get the most out of it by not looking for a distinct narrative, but letting the whole wash over you. The beauty of the piece is not in the individual details but in the mood created by the flow and combination of image, music, word, and ritual.

Ghost in the Machine is a return to the narrative style of which most of the TCHF is made up of with a play that feels ripped from today’s headlines. Artificial Intelligence seems to be constantly in the news and social media these days which makes it the perfect subject for a horror story. Ghost in the Machine references all the usual A.I. Fears and the movies they are based off of without doing anything so predictable. It reminds us that Computers, while superior in many ways, are no match for their human creators when it comes to being horrible. The script by Tim Wick doesn’t reveal itself too quickly and the mind leads us down several false paths before we begin to put it all together. The cast are all good with Elora Riley as Arwyn turning in a particularly smart performance as the hip programmer being wooed by the super secret and shady Weyland Corporation. Gore free it’s a well plotted little gem with food for thought that will keep you thinking about it long after you’re home and in bed.

For some behind the scenes information about the TCHF listen to season 2 episode 5 of the Twin cities Theater Chat podcast

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Headshot of Rob Dunkelberger
Rob Dunkelberger

Rob is a member of the Twin Cities Theater Bloggers and their podcast Twin Cities Theater Chat as well as a syndicating contributor to Minnesota Playlist. Read all his content