The Black Vault
|The Black Vault|
|Theater||The Hideout Theatre|
|Directed by||Marc Majcher|
The Black Vault was an improvised longform show performed in the style of the novels and stories of H.P. Lovecraft.
Each show in the mainstage run was divided into three stories. A predetermined group of characters would begin on stage, establishing a framing sequence. Eventually, one of the characters would say a phrase which might constitute the title of a Lovecraftian story, and the title was taken up by one of the show's two predetermined main characters. That character would then narrate a story, stepping into and out of the scene as desired. At the conclusion of the story, the framing sequence would resume, until a second title ess announced, at which case the second narrator would begin his or her story. After that, the framing sequence resumed for a final time, at which point the frame itself became the third story and one (non-predetermined) character from the frame became the final narrator.
The Black Vault stories were generally of three main styles:
- Weird Horror—Tales of unnatural doings moored in such horror tropes as reanimation of the dead, infestation, mind control, or madness.
- Dreamscape—Following the style of Lovecraft's "Dream Cycle," these stories focused on the inner life of the dreaming mind, usually with a fantasy or science fiction bent.
- Cosmic Horror—As in the stories in Lovecraft's "Cthulhu Mythos," these stories focused on unknowable and largely unseen forces from beyond the stars, represented on Earth by mysterious cults and strange ancient artifacts.
 Post-run Performances
After its mainstage run, there were a number of one-off shows:
- 12/6/12: "Lovecraft Secrets", a mash-up with Austin Secrets that played at The Free Fringe.
- 4/13/13: a 25-minute show played The 2013 Improvised Play Festival.
- 5/5/13: a 25-minute show played "nerd-prov", a nerd-themed quadruple-bill at The Institution Theater.
- 5/23/13: "Pick Your Own Black Vault", a mash-up with Pick Your Own Path that played at The Free Fringe.
- 6/23/13: the show was hour 32 of The 44-Hour Improv Marathon.
- 3/27/14: a double-bill with Strange Worlds as a fundraiser for both show's trip to the Alaska State Improv Festival.
 Tales from the Black Vault
In 2014, the cast began production on Tales from the Black Vault, a podcast version of the show. Plans were made for an eight-episode audiodrama anthology of improvised stories in the style of H. P. Lovecraft. They recorded a demo episode at the director's home, and then launched a kickstarter campaign to raise funding to produce a whole season. The kickstarter raised enough money to produce *two* seasons, with the first season premiering in mid-March of 2015.
- Sample video of Marc Majcher's introduction to the show.
- Video of the 9/15/12 performance.
- Video of the 9/22/12 performance.
- Video of the last third of the 10/6/12 performance.
- Video by Paul Normandin of the 10/13/12 show.
- Video by Paul Normandin of the 10/20/12 show.
- Video by Paul Normandin of the 10/27/12 show.
- Video by Paul Normandin of the 10/31/12 show.
- Video of the one-off "Lovecraft Secrets" show (a mash-up with Austin Secrets at The Free Fringe), from 12/6/12.
- Video by Paul Normandin of their 4/13/13 performance in The 2013 Improvised Play Festival.
- Video of the 5/5/13 performance, which was part of "Nerdprov" at The Institution Theater.
- Video by Paul Normandin of the 5/23/13 "Pick Your Own Black Vault" show in The Free Fringe.
- Video by Paul Normandin of their 6/23/13 performance in The 44-Hour Improv Marathon.
- Audio of the 10/11/13 performance, part of Mister Morbid's Moonlight Movie Mayhem Madness Massacre.
- Video of the 3/27/14 performance by Warren Henderson.
- Video by Peter Rogers of the 12/7/14 performance of "Arkham Community Radio" in the 2x4.
- Video by Peter Rogers of the 1/23/15 performance of "Arkham Community Radio" in The Free Fringe.
- Video of their 6/10/15 performance in The 46-Hour Improv Marathon.
- Photoset by Steve Rogers of the 9/8/12 performance.
- Photoset by Roy Moore of the 10/6/12 performance.
- Photoset by Roy Moore of the 10/27/12 performance.
- Photoset by Roy Moore of the 10/31/12 performance.
- Photoset by Chad Wellington that includes their 5/5/13 performance at "Nerd Nite" at The Institution Theater.
- Photoset by Roy Moore that includes their 10/11/13 performance in Mister Morbid's Moonlight Movie Mayhem Madness Massacre.
- Photoset by Warren Henderson of a 3/27/14 fundraiser show for their trip to the Alaska State Improv Festival.
- Photoset by Chad Wellington of their show in The 2014 Improvised Play Festival.
- Photoset by Chad Wellington of their 10/24/14 show with Mister Morbid.
- Photoset by Michael Yew of the 12/4/14 performance of "Arkham Community Radio" in The Free Fringe.
- Photoset by Michael Yew of a 9/15 cast visit to H. P. Lovecraft's gravesite in Providence, Rhode Island.
- Photo of Kaci Beeler's set design.
- Tales from the Black Vault media:
 More Information
- The show's web page.
- A blog post by Roy Janik about the rehearsal process.
- "The Shadow Out of Austin", an abortive collaborative story by the cast from September 2012:
- Interview with director Marc Majcher and cast members Jessica Arjet, Ryan Hill, and Paul Normandin on The Theft Forum.