These features as a way for the Ministry to highlight artists, musicians, writers, and makers of all variety. With so many talented individuals to choose from, we know it is a challenge to feature every clever creative worthy of note, but perhaps we might endeavour to introduce to you a new name in our community of steam and cog, or perhaps remind you of one artisan’s successful efforts to bring the past that never was to the here and now.
In this week’s Æther Feature brought to you by Jeff Mach we look at the birth of a steampunk rock opera.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Boys and Girls, . . . and any spirits that deign attend. . .
We welcome you to PHANTASMAGORIA!
Phantasmagoria is an exhilarating and evocative Victorian-Circus style theatrical journey that is deep and dark, whimsical yet terrifying, and presented in an intensely intimate style that is guaranteed to stir the imaginations of audiences of any age.
The unique performances of Phantasmagoria are born from the type of chilling madness found in the works of authors such as Edgar Allan Poe, Mary Shelley, or Charles Dickens mixed with dark and fabled tales from The Brothers Grimm, Mythology, Folklore and Legend – all stirred together in a toiled and troubled potion of on stage aerial arts and acrobatics, large scale puppetry, “Phantastical” dance, explosive stage combat, fire performance, and haunting storytelling creating a vivid and distinct tapestry of macabre and whimsical horror.
The show’s humble beginnings were as an eerie, yet alluring, troupe of gypsy travelers that emerged out of the darkness and into the senses, minds, and hearts of their audience. As the show transformed and grew, so did the audience. What was once an annual production has now expanded into 12 months of ongoing performances, appearances, special events, touring shows, and main stage theatrical productions.
The show’s creator, John DiDonna, would tell you he no longer has full control of Phantasmagoria, and that it has since evolved into a living-breathing spectacle containing a soul and life of its very own. The troupe’s fictional tale is as follows:
They were the wanderers who traveled the countryside… traversing the mountains and villages of Greece, carrying with them the stories of old. Yet they travelled alone, never knowing from whence they came, or where they were headed.
In the sixth century B.C., our founder Byron met Cyril in Athens – two of a rare breed, an unknown race united by the stories. Joining together, the search began for more of their kind, and slowly — one by one through the centuries — the troupe formed from disparate nations, banding together to share and bring the stories to life.
The “Phantasmagoria Troupe” are all that remain of these immortal storytellers from time immemorial.
And the troupe lives and dies by only this rule:
“Once a story is chosen, it must be told. Once a story is begun, it must be finished.”
Let the stories begin!
The show’s ever-growing supporters and fans have various reasons for their devotion, not the least being the troupe’s unique Victorian/Steampunk influenced style and aesthetic. When DiDonna and his fellow collaborators created Phantasmagoria they set out to develop the troupe’s uniquely dark Victorian world, the distinct characters that inhabit it, and incorporate their tales of whimsical nightmares and tales of madness into an imaginative on-stage performance. Fans of the show could not be happier – and the critics all seem to agree:
“ . . .one of the most unique theater troupes in the country.” – Good Day Atlanta
“Something wicked this way comes in the form of “Phantasmagoria . . . this pastiche of stylish costumes and scary stories is quite good at being wicked. . . Scary never seemed so stylish.” – Matt Palm, Orlando Sentinel
“. . . to enchant your spirit and captivate your senses. . .there’s no better trick or treat in town. . . “ Al Krulick, Orlando Weekly
“Phantasmagoria is a mesmerizing, transformative experience that tantalizes the eyes, ears, mind, and soul.” – Dawn Sabato, ComeSeeOrlando.com
“One of the most fiendishly clever nightmares you’ll ever tumble into. And when it’s over and the lights have come up, and you’re no longer sitting in the eerie darkness, you’ll likely remember just how invigorating and stimulating brilliant theater truly can be.” – Michael Freeman, freelineorlando.com
“The show is so rich in storytelling, beautiful sets, gorgeous costuming and amazing performers. . . Gorgeousness and Gothic, Don’t miss it!” – Denna Eramo, The Daily City
“Gothic Horror, and Theater: truly a combination that, when stirred together into the magnificent talent conglomerate known as Phantasmagoria, provides its audiences with enrapturing entertainment, . . .On every level, it is Phantasmagorgeous.”
– Anna Rotach, Victorian Gothic and Steampunk Magazine
As we enter 2016, Phantasmagoria celebrates 6 years of rave reviews, documentaries, all original stunning performances, and annually expanding venues. The next year will see the troupe performing continually in Special Appearances and Events – Traveling to several different cities throughout the US with both the signature touring show “Wicked Little Tales” and a brand new installment Phantasmagoria VI “The Cards They Are Dealt” – The introduction of their All New Side Troupe, dedicated especially to works of whimsical horror for children – And just announced, the release of The First in a series of a Graphic Novels centered on the troupe’s eerie and exciting adventures.
If “Whimsically Macabre” is right up your alley… if you are a Horror or Steampunk fan(addict)… if Theater and Storytelling is in your blood… or if you simply want to see something completely different, then Phantasmagoria has a Theatrical Journey you’ll want to join in on…… if you dare.
For information on upcoming events and performances, as well as newly released information visit Phantasmagoria at: