I teased Clay McLeod Chapman a few months back when he announced he was ending his two-decade old Pumpkin Pie Show, a much beloved Halloween ritual at Under St Marks. No one wanted it to go away! And abstinence is the biggest Aphrodisiac of them all. So it’s back already of course, much sooner than even I would have guessed. The twist this time is that the new iteration is “One on One” — the same kind of scary stories, the same unsettling dude telling them, but now you’re the only audience member sitting alone in a creepy basement with Clay McLeod Chapman as he points those blazing peepers at you and talks crazy.
I chatted about the new show with Chapman in the course of my recent article about the stabilizing efforts at Under St. Marks (read that here). The loquacious Chapman gave me much stuff that was too good to be left on the cutting room floor so I share it here:
ON ENDING THE PUMPKIN PIE SHOW
“I’ve always advocated for the value of theatre. I want theatre to always matter. I’ve been doing this show for 20 years. There’s no reason for doing this but the sheer desire to do it. But, you know, if you love something, let it go…and it came back!”
ON THE GENESIS OF “ONE ON ONES”
I got the idea for this in college and have wanted to do it for years, but the ability to do it eluded me. Then a couple of years ago, the organizers of the Overlook Film Festival were looking for stuff to fill the liminal space between screenings to make it more of a festival (more festive). I asked them if they’d be open to my doing these “One on Ones” in a closet space at the festival. I’ve been workshopping it there for two years now.
ON THE UPCOMING RUN AND WHAT TO EXPECT
I’m doing three and a half hours at Under St. Marks every Sunday through October 7. So seating is extremely limited, one seat per show. There are 60 twenty minute slots, for people who are brave enough to endure me! You’re alone in this subterranean space, with a complete stranger. It’s not for everybody. There’s no hiding. YOU are all the rows. It can be off-putting on both sides. The dynamic of each piece changes completely based on the audience member. I just have to listen and recalibrate based on their response, whether I need to shift gear from low to high etc. Each person gets their own show.
Clay McLeod Chapman’s Pumpkin Pie Show One on Ones are rapidly selling out, so get your tickets now, although Clay confides he’s open to the possibility of extending. Get your ticket (singular) here.