Many plays are funny or tragic, but how many are terrifying? Ask Tony Award-winning director John Tiffany why horror in the theater is so hard to realize, and his answer is simple: "The audience is always very aware of the artifice." But Tiffany delivers genuine scares in Let the Right One In, the stage version of the Swedish novel and film.
A dark fairy tale about a tween-girl vampire teaching her friend Oskar to battle bullies, the production was a sensation in the U.K., where critics praised its startling imagination and bloodcurdling chills. (It's now opening at St. Ann's Warehouse in Brooklyn.) The show's terror surfaces in surprising places. LTROI's most harrowing scene is not one of fang-toothed violence, but of Oskar's tormentors nearly drowning him in a pool.
"The audience is seeing a real person held underwater," Tiffany says. "You can feel them going, Oh my God, this has to stop." And yet you almost won't want it to.