The Devil Takes the Stage at Fantasia

A Taste of Clive Barker’s History of the Devil

HIST 666: Thirty-four characters travelling through time on-stage in an effort redeem Satan.

“Doesn’t he look, in his confusion, in his cowardice and in the profundity of his misery, a little like us?”

This line opens Clive Barker’s The History of the Devil and in doing so invites us to spectate from a vantage point not often considered.

We are all undoubtedly aware of the devil’s portrayal in religious text, but this production adds a modern twist to the age-old character.

In History of the Devil, adapted for stage from Clive Barker’s original text, viewers watch as the Devil is put on trial for his crimes against humanity. If found innocent, he can return to paradise forever; if found guilty, his existence will vanish. The story takes place over the course of 1,000 years as eight actors play 34 different characters in a wide array of settings and scenarios.

Title 66 Production’s Jeremy Michael Segal directed and Logan Williams was in charge of set and costume production for the grandiose theatrical show that grants Fantasia Film Festival attendees an alternative to the fantastical film lineup.

Although the show was performed at last year’s festival, this year’s production, to be staged at Place des Arts, promises to up the ante.

“It’s the same concept, but it’s more refined, especially the design,” said Segal of the revamped production. “My directive for the remount was to keep what worked and change what didn’t, while still allowing room for growth and change.”

“At its core it’s still the same show with all the hard work that came before.”

“The costumes are very different, more historically accurate,” added Williams. “In the first run, we used what we could get. We have the skill set now to create something more elaborate.”

Segal hopes the play will spark discussions about what it means to be human. He also hopes the audience leaves with an appreciation of the craft of theatre.

“I’d like people to be inspired and see theatre as an entertaining art form, as exciting as film or television,” Segal said.

Certainly a lofty ambition, but one this production is undoubtedly capable of.

Clive Barker’s The History of the Devil / August 1 to 3 / 8:00 p.m. / Cinquième Salle (Place des Arts: 175 Ste. Catherine St. W.) / $24