Some people dream, others work for it, and Eric LaRocca definitely works. A creative writing major here at WCSU, LaRocca has already seen plenty of success from his plays being brought to life most notably at the Hartford Stage Company to having several of his short stories published in both the United States and the United Kingdom. LaRocca has a flair for all things grotesque and “body-horror,” and his latest play “Abscission” does not stray from what he loves best.
Q: What is “Abscission” about?
A: “Abscission” is a one-act play that is set in an unnamed foreign country rampant with civil unrest after the highly fascist government had issued a mandate ordering execution to all civilians openly practicing homosexuality. The play, however, takes place in the cellar and makeshift operating theatre of a surgeon/biochemist who has since been executed by the government for aiding opponents of the regime, and follows a gruesome encounter between the surgeon’s surviving apprentice and a Soldier representing the government.
LaRocca admits that the play is very dark with violent language and some graphic scenes. “It offers a timely commentary on similar situations currently occurring in countries such as Russia and Uganda,” he further commented. In other words, do not bring your children to see this play!
Q: Did you ever think you would be in this position?
A: To have some of my horror fiction published in the United States and England is so validating for me as a writer…It’s even more rewarding, however, to hear my words performed. Writing is such a solitary activity and it’s an incredible experience to be around the high-octane energy of directors and actors.
LaRocca credits WCSU Professor, Oscar De Los Santos, for championing him along the way.
“Eric has taken a number of my writing workshops in recent years. He’s one of the best student writers I’ve run across. It’s no surprise that he’s getting positive attention in the horror field. It’s well deserved. Eric writes with a contemporary lens, but the spirit in his material is classic storytelling. His horror tales are edgy and pull no punches – but they have a point. Eric has much to say about contemporary society and its problems. That’s important and largely what distinguishes him from countless others clamoring for attention in the publishing business,” stated the professor.
Q: If you had to write a play in another genre, what would it be and why?
A: If I were to write a play in another genre, I might try comedy. It would certainly be a challenge. Comedy and horror are actually closely related, I believe. Both genres operate with the intention to illicit a reaction from the audience.
The horror playwright went on to say how important it is that all kinds of writers belong to an organization whether it be national or local; just as long as it’s supportive of them. “Writing can be a fairly unsociable activity and writers are an intrinsically sensitive breed. It can become easy to get discouraged if you feel as though nobody is standing behind you,” he followed.
LaRocca is currently outlining fresh ideas and hopes to finish a new one- act play by summer’s end, and of course a new batch of short stories. Be very scared!
For anyone interested in seeing “Abscission” this summer, you can check it out from July 6 to July 19! It will be running as part of Gadfly Theatre’s Final Frontier: Horror Festival in Minneapolis, MN. Go on gadflytheatre.org for more information!