Legends of Horror’s presentational form is considered promenade theatre, in which the audience walks at their own pace through a 1.2 km trail commencing in the lower gardens of Casa Loma and winding its way through the castles tunnels and darkest spaces never before open to the public.
Throughout the over 1 hour experience, the audience is immersed in a variety of theatrically designed sets in gardens and chambers below the castle. Each of these introducing characters in the environmental theatre, in which the physical location, rather than being a traditional playhouse, creates the actual setting. The traditional set change does not exist but is created by having the audience move on to the next scene. A crescendo of the production is the 3D projection on the exterior of the castle which brings the characters of the storyline and the walls of the castle to life.
The theatrical action, incorporates the most recognized characters of the horror genre immersed in their associated environments. These characters are brought to life by over 70 actors and feature beautifully created sets and vignettes from Dracula rising from his crypt, to the Creature from the Black Lagoon slithering in the swamp, the Phantom of the Opera with his captive in the bowels of the boiler room and a final tribute to one of the greatest monsters of all time; celebrating the 200 anniversary of its creation. The production leads its audience on a macabre chase for love and immortality.
Legends is set on the 5 acre grounds of Casa Loma and in the depths of the castles 90,000 square foot structure. Though the audience is given no programme and there is no speaking from either the actors or audience. The actors and their environment all adopt the dress, decor, and aesthetic style of the classic horror novels, inspired by the shadowy and anxious atmosphere of film noir. The actors elaborate masks and costumes and their performance in passionate group settings, solitary scenes and on occasion choreographed dances all to provoke thought and personal interpretation of the experience.
As guests make their way through the exterior grounds of the castle, they will meet a host of ghoulish characters along their path. What will bring this journey together in a narrative ‘through-line’, is the host, ‘Dracula’. Dracula is our guide, drawing us into his seductive world of enchantment, blood, and eternal life. The story we are telling is one that progresses from a period of time in which Dracula’s assistants and his ‘newly initiated’ are reveling in their world. It is powerful, mysterious and sexy. In the wild abandonment of the gardens, these creatures roam free. Dracula leads the way through his domain, proudly displaying his children of the night.
As our guests make their way closer to the castle, the tone begins to change. In the glass house, the Invisible Man presents a confusing distortion of reality, not just for the audience, but also for Dracula himself. He pursues the image of the Invisible Man, and it continuously escapes him. He then leads the way into the tunnels beneath the castle, revealing a tale of darkness and despair. Our guests encounter ghosts of those lost to the plague (a reference to the historic use of the castle as a refuge for children during that time), a great fire, and characters holding a séance to try to reconnect with their loved ones long past. Gone is the sexy display of vampires discovering eternal life, of werewolves roaming free and powerful. The tunnels represent captivity, fear and death.
As the journey comes to an end, Dracula reveals his plan to bring life back to this place of death and despair. He has brought to existence his own creation in a laboratory. Frankenstein is his triumph, a reminder of the promise of eternal life. His powerful dominion is once more a reality and darkness is again desirable.