by Carissa Chesanek
“The Creeps” is exactly what it sounds like. It will pull you in and leave you feeling creeped out. Catherine Waller plays five characters, all of whom are creepy. Each has their own story to tell, as they are locked away in a dark building where a seemingly evil doctor controls their every move.
The show starts off with a character who is crouched over, arms shot back, with a serpent‑like tongue poking out in between grimacing smiles. This narrator takes the audience along on a chilling adventure, interacting with the crowd, asking questions to gauge their interest and giving them chills.
You later meet Billy, who is also hunched over, sporting a knit cap and two empty sockets where his eyes used to be. He is scary at first, especially with his sharp laugh, but becomes sympathetic when you learn more about his life. He had lost his little girl, and now lives to protect the safety of others.
A woman appears under a harsh spotlight, rubbing her belly and singing her unborn—or possibly aborted or miscarried—child to sleep. She is dopey, lethargic, and clearly under the influence of “medicine” from the doctor, which he uses to keep her within his grasp. She is the only character who isn’t irksome at first glance. She is more sad than anything, but there is something unsettling about her as she offers audience members a “good time,” and injects the unknown “medicine” into her veins.
And then there’s the little girl with the dirty mouth, calling the doctor names no little girl should ever know. But she’s not your average little girl. She is angry and scary—for good reason. With no hands or legs, she is merely a head and a torso, trying her best to keep entertained by kissing herself in the mirror and telling dead baby jokes, just to avoid thinking about what fresh torture the doctor has in store.
Speaking of the doctor, we finally see him—or at least what we presume to be the doctor—but only for a moment. He wears a black top hat and stands in the middle of the room, but quickly exits. His presence is alarming, to say the least. With little movement and no conversation, his appearance and disappearance leave us wondering whether he was ever there at all, or whether it was all an illusion. Were the building and the characters getting the best of us?
Catherine Waller does a stellar job of portraying all five characters with such individuality, the audience is mesmerized into thinking they are watching five different people. Each character takes on a different form, as Ms. Waller changes her posture and voice. It’s creepy, intriguing, and incredibly impressive. But while the physical transformations are alluring, each character’s story is equally haunting, making for a scary look at several sad and tortured souls.
Written and Performed by Catherine Waller
Oct. 23 at 7:30pm, Nov. 10 at 6pm
Producer & Technician: Elle Shaw
Photo: courtesy of the production
United Solo 2018
410 West 42nd Street
New York City
CARISSA CHESANEK is a professional writer with a Master’s in Journalism. Her journalism career has allowed her to work with publications, including BroadwayWorld.com, Show-Score.com, Zagat, Food Network, and Forbes Travel Guide. Currently, she is getting her MFA in Creative Writing at The New School. Her creative writing has been seen in Writing Raw and nominated for the Freddie Award for Writing Excellence with the Mystery Writers of America.