Stages Repertory Theatre's 1998-99 Season Opens

The Houston Premiere of Philip Ridley's Thrill Ride

The Most Grotesquely Obscure, Utterly Bizarre, Totally Radical


Shannon Emerick, Clay Allison, Alex Kilgore and Jim Parsons in Stages Repertory Theatre's production of THE PITCHFORK DISNEY by Philip Ridley, October 8 - November 1, 1998. Photo by Bruce Bennett.


This Non-Kiddie Show will Feed your Sick Little Mind with plenty of Chocolates, Sleeping Pills, Medicine and Cockroaches as it Ventures through some Finger-Sucking Fantasy Fun!

Directed by Rob Bundy

October 8 - November 1, 1998
3201 Allen Parkway at Waugh Drive


Jim Parsons................................. Presley Stray
Shannon Emmerick......................... Haley Stray
Alex Kilgore............................... Cosmo Disney
Clay Allison........................... Pitchfork Cavalier

As the Halloween season creeps upon us, Houston theatre-goers are preparing for the fright of the year. Move over Freddie Krueger and Jason, The Pitchfork Disney is ready for its next victim.

The New York Times calls it "Grotesque Enchantment? Another Warped Winner." Directed by Stages' Artistic Director Rob Bundy, The Pitchfork Disney previews Thursday, October 8 and opens Friday, October 9. Performances run through Sunday, November 1.

Since Mummy and Daddy's death years ago, 28-year old twins Presley (Jim Parsons) and Haley (Shannon Emmerick) sequester themselves in their London flat, subsisting on chocolate and sleeping pills. Their terror of the outside world is made all too real when they open their door to Cosmo Disney (Alex Kilgore), a larger-than-life nightclub entertainer with a grotesquely disfigured assistant, Pitchfork Cavalier (Clay Allison). When Disney pays a visit, prepare to face your wildest fears.

The Pitchfork Disney was first performed on London's Fringe in 1991 and quickly moved on to cult status in Europe. In Berlin, it achieved a following akin to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, with the audience showing up dressed like the play's creepy characters.

"It was probably the first of the modern generation of plays to tap into the world of drugs, violence and ultra black humor, thus attracting a younger audience," explains Ridley. "It has gone on to become one of the most performed new English plays of recent years."

Stages' Rob Bundy directed the American premiere of the play in Washington, D.C. in 1995. It garnered four prestigious Helen Hayes Awards, including Best Production. The Houston premiere of The Pitchfork Disney is also under the direction of Bundy, whose previous Stages' productions include Jack and Jill, Quills, Ascendancy and Chili Queen. He recently directed the critically-acclaimed New York premiere of Ascendancy, as well as Romeo and Juliet and The Substance of Fire for the Chautauqua Institution Conservatory Theatre.

Bundy says The Pitchfork Disney is "quintessentially Stages," the kind of daring play that probably would not get a professional production in Houston without the existence of Stages Repertory Theatre.

"The Pitchfork Disney is this really odd, dark romp through what the British call a ghost train, the funhouse ride," says Bundy. "Nobody really gets thrills from blood and gore on stage anymore. With Pitchfork Disney, you keep getting thrown because the scare is a psychological scare instead of a visceral one. It's a funhouse ride, and you laugh one moment and are aghast the next."

Bundy says unlike Stages' critically-acclaimed production of Quills about the Marquis de Sade, The Pitchfork Disney doesn't carry a strong philosophical or political message.

"It really is more of a well-crafted psychological scare," says Bundy. "It's all about investigating your own fears, but then having fun watching someone else go through theirs while you watch from the safety of your theatre seat."


No, he's not the lead singer for The Smashing Pumpkins, but just as equally bizarre. He's British playwright and Cult Artist Philip Ridley

Playwright Philip Ridley provides the following quotes as a preface to the printed text of this play:

Fears are more personal than we had guessed - We only need ourselves: time does the rest. -----Elizabeth Jennings

Extreme terror gives us back the gestures of our childhood. -----Chazal.

Through indiscriminate suffering men know fear and fear is the most divine emotion. It is the stories for altars and the beginning of wisdom. Half gods are worshipped in wine and flowers. Real gods require blood. -----Zora Neale Hurston.


Philip Ridley was born in the East End of London, where he still lives and works. He studied painting at St. Martin's School of Art and has exhibited throughout Europe, New York and Japan. As a writer, his credits include three adult novels: Crocodilia (1988), In the Eyes of Mr. Fury (1989) and Flamingoes in Orbit (1990); three plays for radio, October Scars the Skin (1989), The Aquarium of Coincidences (1989) and Shambolic Rainbow (1991); and the children's novels Mercedes Ice (1989), Dakota of the White Flats (1989), Krindlekrax (1991, Winner of the Smarties Prize for Best Children's Novel and WH Smith's Mind Boggling Books Prize), Meteorite Spoon (1994) and Kasper in the Glitter (1994, shortlisted for the Whitbread Best Children's Novel Award).

He has written three stage plays, The Pitchfork Disney (1991), The Fastest Clock in the Universe (1992, which won the Meyer-Whitworth Prize, a Time out Award, and both the Critics' Circle and the Evening Standard Theatre Awards for Most Promising Playwright), and Ghost From a Perfect Place (1994), which quickly became a cause celebre due to its now-notorious torture scene. His short film The Universe of Dermot Finn (1988) was soon followed by his highly-acclaimed screenplay for The Krays (1990), winner of the Evening Standard British Film of the Year Award. His debut feature film as both writer and director, the cult classic The Reflecting Skin (1990) won eleven international awards, was voted one of the Best Ten Films of 1991 by The Los Angeles Times, and prompted Rolling Stones to describe him as "a visionary."

In 1991, he was awarded the Most Promising Newcomer to British Film at The Evening Standard Film Awards. His second feature film as both writer and director, The Passion of Darkly Moon (1994), won him the Best Director Prize at the Porto Film Festival and was described by What's On magazine as "the cult movie of the decade." His new children's novel, Scribbleboy, has just been published by Penguin Books and his first stage play for children, Sparkleshark, will receive its world premiere later this year.


"You should see his children's books," laughs Bundy. "They are very popular-and really weird. He gave me one hot off the press that I would not give to any child, but they are big sellers, especially in Britain-go figure."

Certainly, The Pitchfork Disney is not for the kiddies or the weak of heart. If, however, you long for the thrill of the plummeting roller-coaster, then step aboard the Ghost Train at Stages. Next stop-your deepest, darkest FEAR.

"If, as it has been said, the 1990's will become known as the 'decade of fear,' then The Pitchfork Disney, written early in 1990, got there first," says Ridley. "It doesn't so much have its finger on the pulse, as a razorblade. Prepare to bleed."

The scenic and lighting design for The Pitchfork Disney is by Thom Guthrie (Below the Belt, Das Barbecu, She Loves Me, Lady Day at Emerson's Bar & Grill) costume design is by Matthew Bartkowiak (Fit to be Tied, All Over, Ascendancy), and sound design is by Douglas Robertson (Below the Belt, Ascendancy, Quills).

Stages Repertory Theatre is committed to be a fresh voice among America's professional theatres by presenting innovative, challenging and exciting theatre for Houston audiences.

Stages is supported by the City of Houston through the Cultural Arts Council of Houston/Harris County and the Texas Commission on the Arts.

Director Rob Bundy

MAINSTAGE: The Pitchfork Disney by Philip Ridley


DATES: Preview: Thursday, October 8
Opening: Friday, October 9
Close: Sunday, November 1

TIMES: Wednesday - Saturday: 8:00pm
Sunday: 3:00pm


BOX OFFICE: 713-52-STAGES, 3201 Allen Parkway at Waugh Drive

STUDENT RUSH: $5 ticket with ID, ten minutes before curtain, subject to availability