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Aaron Kopec on The Alchemist Eye

By on September 30, 2012

The Alchemist Theatre in Milwaukee is a small, atmospheric little place hidden away in Bayview. The place is ran by Aaron Kopec, who writes, produces, or directors many of the Alchemist’s productions. The Alchemist Theatre has a history of selling out it’s annual Halloween production, so I figured I’d fire off a couple of questions to Mr. Kopec regarding this year’s show, “Alchemist Eye.” Here’s what turned up in my Inbox a few moments ago.

AK: Thank you, so much, for your interest in the production, as well as the past Halloween shows.

JNC: The Alchemist Eye is described as being Poe and Hitchcock inspired? Would you mind to flesh that out a little more? What should everyone expect from this production?

AK: I always enjoyed the comedy woven within both Poe and Hitchcock work. Hitchcock a bit more so. This production has a handful of sly moments which help keep the entire play from being nonstop darkness. As much as we all love dark tales, pounding folks over the head with it can get tiring fast. This tale also emulates the final outcomes of so many Poe stories. I’m not giving away an ending by saying what will be obvious from the beginning… greed gets you in the end. The fun of such stories is discovering the “how.”

JNC: Tis’ the season for haunted houses. You’re average Halloween hound doesn’t usually think of hitting the theatre for scares. Any words of encouragement (or warning) from someone who hasn’t seen onE OF THE the Alchemist’s halloween shows?

AK: I have been rather busy the last few years during the season so my haunted house days have been few and far between. However I do still try to go to at least one a year – usually with the cast of the fall production in a big rented van. One thing that haunted houses unfortunately fail to do is establish characters for the audience to get to know, love and hate. Without that, it just becomes a pile of effects that they are trying to run you through as fast as possible. Now, that can be fun… and even waiting in line at some of the haunts can be great if you’re with great people… BUT, imagine some of those visual and audio effects from a haunted house playing out while you sit back and watch characters that you come to know and understand. We’ve been told often that our fall productions are like “haunted houses for adults.” While I for one still believe haunted houses aren’t just for kids, I do understand the comparison.

JNC: These Halloween shows have a history of selling out… what’s the secret to putting out a good horror production?

AK: Well who knows? Honestly I feel that like any stage performance, a relatable [sic] story, good characters and great actors is the solid framework that everything else serves to decorate. Anyone could throw blood, guts and monster effects onto a stage but unless the core of the production is taken seriously by professionals, nothing gels as entertainment.

Alchemist Eye Synopsis from

“The Alchemist Eye” is an ancient amulet said to have the power to grant its owner anything they desire. Bryant McCardle, a treasure seeker, believes that he has traced “the eye” to the opulent home of the aging and eccentric Elizabeth Hopkins. Hopkins denies ownership of “the eye” but enjoys the company and welcomes Bryant and his fiance’ as houseguests. In the style of classic Edgar Allen Poe tales, this twisted story reveals the truth behind Hopkins Manor as well as the dark powers of The Alchemist Eye. “During the past few Halloween seasons we have offered a bit of sex appeal, some dark drama and adventure. This season we’re simply going to scare the **** out of you.” -Aaron Kopec

The production opens on October 11 and runs each Thursday-Saturday until November 3. There will also be a show Halloween night.

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Aaron Kopec’s Website

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J. Nathan Couch

About J. Nathan Couch

J. Nathan Couch is an author and paranormal investigator. He is part of the Wisconsin-based Paranormal Investigation and Research Society, and guides ghost walks and bus tours in support of Washington County Paranormal. His new book Goatman: Flesh or Folklore? is available now.

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