Theater Amorpheus has always been a little slow.
In the spring of 2011 I went to one of Toronto’s theaters to see a show that billed itself as a live-action ghost story.
“Cool!” I thought. “I love ghost stories!”
And it was pretty cool. Kind of hokey, but the sets were neat and I got startled a few times, so overall I was into it. At least I was until the Final Terrifying Plot Twist which At Last Reveals the Monster who has Stalked Our Narrator Throughout the Years… and it turns out this monster is just a dude with mental and physical disabilities.
This bothered me so much that it took two years to write down exactly why I was upset in a way that people might listen to it and say, “This is what we need to guard against, this is where we are vulnerable.”
Then it took another two and a half years (and seventeen rejections of varying encouragement) for Theater Amorpheus to sell.
And understandably so. Even horror publishers tend to frown when you murder children, especially the hypervulnerable ones. It was never brought up in any of the rejections, but I can’t help but think it wasn’t the biggest selling point, either.
The reviews for the show I went to are still up on the theater’s website. Reactions were mixed, tending on the extremely negative side, but out of the 80+ reviews only two mentioned they were disgusted and outraged at being expected to view, and tacitly accept, the disabled character as a hideous monster.
Which suggests everyone else thought it was too uncomfortable a subject to bring up, or didn’t see anything wrong with it… or, worse yet, that they thought it was right.
Can’t say I like any of those options.
Some of my story ideas come from watching a bad movie and thinking, “I can do better than that.” When I write the story, I don’t want anyone thinking they can do better. Except for Theater Amorpheus. I hope it makes people upset. I hope it makes people do better.