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Storyteller to bring three dark tales to life in Salem

SALEM — Halloween has passed, but there are still spooky stories to be told.

Next Thursday night, Nov. 21, Rita Parisi of Waterfall Productions will be presenting the “Gothic Ghost Tales by Candlelight” theatrical storytelling experience at the Kelley Library at 7 p.m.

Parisi will be presenting three ghost stories by female authors of the early to mid-20th century — Rose MacCauley, Agatha Christie and Virginia Layefsky.

The stories have been adapted to a more theatrical mode, where Parisi plays a character telling the stories.

“It is in a conversational form that reflects the character I play,” she said. “The stories are a part of her life with a range of emotion and experience.”

In keeping with the theatrical feel, Parisi also uses costumes, lighting and backdrops to heighten the ghostly feel of the tales.

At the heart of the experience for the viewers, however, are the stories themselves.

“These are really good stories, and people like to see really good stories that are well told,” Parisi said. “People really love the staging, but these stories are really the cream of the crop.”

Parisi said the stories move beyond the ghost stories of the Victorian era, with more innovation and a greater emphasis on psychological fears.

“In their ghost stories, they have probed the possibility of other dimensions in time and human consciousness,” said Parisi. “They’ve mixed old-fashion ghosts and science fiction to create the modern ghost story.”

Parisi has a background in cabaret and musical theater and formed her production company a little over a decade ago.

The popularity of a production she did on 19th-century New England Gothic author Sarah Orne Jewett led her to develop more programs based on Gothic literature and ghost stories.

The program at the Kelley Library is open to the public but is not suitable for children under 10 years of age.


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