A dance theater production inspired by women diagnosed with “hysteria,” yanked from their loves ones and forced into insane asylums, is a Halloween-themed performance that Lucas Flint would’ve loved.
“The weirder the better,” said Susan Flint. “If it’s strange he would love it. He loved all things Halloween.”
The show, Hysteria, is being presented by the Neo-Political Cowgirls (NPC) on Wednesday, October 30, at the Old South Church, and all proceeds will benefit the Lucas Flint Scholarship Fund.
Lucas Flint ’20, a Media Arts Production major, died last December after being hit by a drunk driver on his way home in Braintree, Massachusetts.
Kate Mueth, the founder and artistic director of the Neo-Political Cowgirls, never met Lucas, nor did her son, fellow Emerson student August Gladstone ’22, but Mueth was incredibly touched by his death.
“I couldn’t quit crying. I sobbed every day for three months for Lucas,” said Mueth, who felt a connection to Lucas because like him, her son is also an only child.
Mueth reached out to Susan Flint and the two became friends. Wanting to do something for the family in Lucas’ memory, Mueth began fundraising for the Flints, with Susan’s permission. Mueth said Susan could do whatever she wanted with the money, and the Lucas Flint Scholarship Fund was established.
Based in New York, Mueth is bringing NPC company members for the Boston show. There are more than a dozen Emerson students working on the production, either as performers or crew — NPC wanted Emerson students to be part of the show.
Hysteria is aptly set in the gothic Old South Church, and plays with sound, music, lighting, dance, and chilling stories to create an immersive Halloween performance. “Female hysteria,” as it was known, was once a common diagnosis for women suffering from an array of symptoms, including depression, anxiety, fainting, sexual desires, sexually aggressive behavior, irritability, a loss of appetite, and a lot more.
“Today we call it depression, or a manic episode,” said Mueth. “It’s going to be very creepy in the spirit of Halloween, and definitely playful in that way. We’re trying to conjure that fear instead of having things jump out at you. It’s dark stories coming to life.”
Jesse Fulton ’22 was selected to be assistant director, and while he had never personally met Lucas, his passing was “a brutal eye-opener” of not knowing when tragedies may occur, and a reminder of the fragility of life.
Fulton said he quickly clicked with Mueth, and is enthusiastic about Hysteria.
“It’s an extremely unsettling piece, which I love. We’ve been playing a lot with the uncomfortable and the unnatural to see what sends shivers down our backs,” said Fulton. “Seeing all of this unfold in an old and sacred church is an idea that excites me a lot.”
Susan thinks the performance may be uncomfortable, similarly to The Rocky Horror Picture Show, a production of which Lucas worked on as a lighting crew member.
“He loved the whole scene of Halloween, so this is really appropriate,” said Susan. “He just really, really liked this time of year, from when he was really little to last year. He liked the whole darkness and silliness of it all.”
Susan said she knows the scholarship fund will help many Emerson students. Students like her son, who received financial aid.
“I think it will help many students who have the same drive he had, who knew what he wanted to do when he was 15,” said Susan. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do at 15, but he knew what he wanted to do and made moves to do it.”
Tickets at the door are $30 and a special seating, advance purchase ticket is available for $75 for seating in the first four rows. Advance purchase discount for college students when they use discount code COLL19 for $15 tickets. College ID must be presented at ticket desk upon entrance to receive discount. This production is for ages 16 and up only.