[Manic Mondays] Everything is everything/ After winter must come spring. . .

I’m deep in research mode for my next short book and I just came off a 50 hour work week (including a 15 hour day) so I’m a bit loopy right now, especially since two people I love very dearly are in the hospital.  Today has been spent sleeping and getting day wine drunk with April.

I did get to see The BEING last night with April, A. and Jow last night to support immersive theater and my alma mater.  Alledgedly April and I got a bit listless during the second loop because both she and I worked v. long weeks and that may have made the stewarts  uneasy.  Look.  If you’re going to do immersive theater and encourage us to be masters of our own fates then we’re going to do that.  We followed all the rules but don’t leave out things that say do not touch which are obviously there to be touched (and boringly empty when opened I might add) and locks that need to be figured out and books that include Judge Judy’s seminal work and painted rocks and not expect us to get Blair Witch creative on you.   I mean, you leave chalk out, we’re going to draw.  That’s, like, the whole point of immersive theater.  Anyway, they did a pretty good job given the budget and Mason Gross students are there to become professional actors so they were all very good actors.  It was also nice to not have to travel v. far to get an experience outside of our day to day.  We all liked Victor’s wife the best as she was stone cold cray cray.  It was kind of funny because at one point it was just her and like me, A. and four other girls.  You could see us all having the same thought from club days, I know this is just a play and she’s just acting but . . .No.  She shouldn’t be left alone because she’s out of her head right now and god/dess/es only knows what she’ll do.

A week or two ago, Jow and I got to go to The Borgata.  They recently redid all the rooms and I really it.  They make no bones about what they expect you to be doing (boning) with the floor to ceiling window with railing, the two person shower with a bench, the nude heavy art work, the huge amount of pr0n that each has an epic amount of copy to scroll through and the house music station with moooood lighting on the television.  We made a Roman holiday and enjoyed the steam rooms/baths/sauna/lounge at the spa and ate at the fancy Italian restaurant where our waiter was old country Italian and asked about my last name.  Note that lobster pants were indeed worn.



So, I’ve been crazy.  Crazier than usual.  But I’ve been trying to cook as much as possible because pizza gets gross eventually (eventually.)

My current favorite go to recipe has been this:

Oven Baked Pork Chops That Aren’t Dry and Gross

1 pound pork chops, preferably bone in but you’re the captain of your own ship

1 individual fat free plain greek yogurt

1 cup whole wheat bread crumbs, preferably panko but you do you boo

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 tablespoon Italian herbs

1/4 cup grated cheese

salt and pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 450.  Salt and pepper the pork chops.  Take out two bowls that the pork chops will fit in.  In one bowl: greek yogurt, lemon juice and salt and pepper.  Mix.  In the other bowl: herbs, grated cheese, olive oil and bread crumbs.  Mix.  Dunk the pork chops on both sides in the yogurt mixture.  Dunk both sides of the pork chops on both sides into the breadcrumbs.  Put pork chops in bake ware and bake for 40 minutes.  



I’m in love with these slippers right now.  I have huge feet, about a size 10.  Knitters, if you want to make them for me, I’ll send you the yarn and then treats however you want (handspun yarn, candles, oils, Dream Ambassadors, whatev).  Email me if you want to make them for me.

Deborah Castellano
Deborah Castellano's book Glamour Magic: The Witchcraft Revolution to Get What You Want is available for purchase through Amazon, Llewellyn and Barnes and Noble.
Her frequently updated catalogue of published work is available on Author Central.

She writes about Glamour Magic here at Charmed, I'm Sure. Her podcast appearances are available here.

Her craft shop, The Mermaid & The Crow specializes in old-world style workshop from 100% local, sustainable sources featuring tempting small batch ritual oils and hand-spun hand-dyed yarn in luxe fibers and more!

In a previous life, Deborah founded the first Neo-Victorian/Steampunk convention, SalonCon which received rave reviews from con-goers and interviews from the New York Times and MTV.

She resides in New Jersey with her husband, Jow and their cat, Max II. She has a terrible reality television habit she can't shake and likes St. Germain liquor, record players and typewriters.  


2 Responses

  1. Seems like you’re having a great time! HOW do these immersive theater programs get started? I’ve read about Night Heron recently, and these two shows you mention here, and it’s interesting. I wonder how we’d go about running one around here in central CT, or if there’s even an audience… Hmmm.

    Of course, I run a Druidic circle once every six weeks or so at the Eight Great Days (Summer Solstice, up next!), and I can’t even get a reliable crew to show up for THAT. So my guess is, I’m not putting on one of these shows any time soon.
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    • Well, Punchdrunk is the big forerunner but they started in the UK. As for The Being, it’s part of my college’s art school so some of the funding came from there I’m sure and then Joshua Marx raised the rest of the money on Kickstarter. He had a large team from the college to do set design (v. important for immersive theater, the set is often referred to as an additional character), a location at the college with about eight rooms that could be used for exploring/scenes, it’s common practice to use a known story (MacBeth/Rebecca for Punchdrunk though they’ve done Mask of the Red Death too, Third Rail uses Alice in Wonderland in a retired mental hospital for And Then She Fell and The BEING used Frankenstein and then add additional characters and twist the plot on its ear some) that will be rewritten by playwrights, actors who are generally good at both dance and expressive acting (spoken parts are generally somewhat minimal though it varies by company) and good at interacting with the audience, the audience generally is supposed to have a part too (ghosts in SNM, failed experiments in The BEING) which may be masked or unmasked, a large group of behind the scene people (costuming as most immersive tends to be set in a different time period than the original but not modern, directors, stage managers, stewarts who usually dress in black and are black masked whose job is to make sure no one is doing anything naughty to the set or actors, choreographers for any dance that may happen, composers to make the music so the actors can all find their cues and know when the piece “loops” – generally immersive theater has so much going on in so many places, most will try to try to loop the performance so people can see different things unless it’s a more structured “guided tour”. There were two 1-hour loops for The BEING and three 1-hour loops in SNM. As far as I know for ATSF, it’s one loop but more guided).

      Other key components to immersive theater:

      * It needs to involve all the senses – touch, taste, smell, sight and sound

      * There needs to be some “easter eggs”- SNM has a secret floor and a secret quest that you have to be “in the know” about, finding secret props are a big thing, ATSF has a vineyard that formulated wines for “Drink Me” and a chef who made a few tiny nibbles for “Eat Me”.

      * Ideally, there should be some tangibles that participants can have – masks, special gifts given to a select few from the actors (necklaces, etc), washable markings that the actors will give to a select few, something to be eaten, etc.

      * 1:1 (or one on ones) are also a big mark of immersive theater and another way it’s like gaming. An actor will pick an audience member that s/he feels connected to and will take him or her aside for a 1:1. It could be something whispered in their ear, it could be to take him or her into a special room that only 1:1s get to see, it could be that they are given an amulet of some kind, etc.

      * Generally, there will be symbols and an air of occultism to the set design in parts. Theaterical magic of some kind is generally performed.

      * The set should have things in drawers and other “hidden” places for the audience to find, it’s another mark of the gaming aspect to it.

      * Part of the goal of immersive theater is sort of like gaming – there should be parts that are always missed, no matter how often you go.

      * Generally, a horror piece is picked out (or a piece with horror elements) because part of the point of is to take the audience out of their every day life and to test their boundaries. The audience should typically feel a little (or a lot) afraid, uncertain, exhilarated, a little naughty and perhaps a bit uncomfortable (actors taking off a lot or all their clothes is not uncommon but also they get into your “space bubble”, hold eye contact with you longer than comfortable, ask you questions you have no answers to, etc.). It should feel like live action gaming to a certain extent and like you’re part of the story.

      * Generally, there are rules for the audience to follow (no cell phones, no coats/purses, no speaking, no removing objects from the room, etc) and the stewarts help enforce them. But usually someone also gives a little talk at the beginning about fortune favoring the bold and whatever house rules there are.

      * There are also generally a set number of people who can get in a night. ATSF goes with making it really hard to get in, allowing only 13 at a go (and allowing people to buy out a whole night block for their friends so it’s just people you know), SNM is huge so their number is much much larger, somewhere between 500-1,000 I think. TB capped it at 60 people a night.

      I would really strongly recommend that you attend performances of SNM and ATSF and I would also recommend that you write to them and explain that you want to implement immersive theater at your school, if that’s a route you’re considering. Let them know that your school is really cutting edge (3D printer, etc) and you think that this would be a good fit for them, give them your credentials and your school’s credentials. They may let you in early to show you the control rooms, talk to stewarts or “behind the scene” people to help you really get started. While TB only ran for two weeks, Joshua Marx would be good to talk to in terms of how he got funded from the school and how he got the word out for his Kickstarter and how he got it going on a school level.

      ATSF: http://thenshefell.com/
      SNM: http://sleepnomorenyc.com/
      TB: http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/982881377/the-being

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