December 2, 2013

Webisode Review: Tales of Light and Dark - Open Call

Tales of Light and Dark is a new web series created by writer/director Glen Baisley. The series is about to premiere part one of episode two. Yes, they have already jumped into multi-part episodes. Don't worry, they are quick watches, coming in at about 10-minutes apiece. Last month I happened to run into Mr. Baisley at the Hudson Horror Show in Poughkeepsie, NY, and he asked if I was interested in getting a sneak peak at the two-parter. Of course, I jumped at the chance.

The episode is called Open Call and I have to say, it is pretty enjoyable. It is quite different in tone from the first episode. While the series is ostensibly horror related, they made a decision to go in a more lighthearted direction for their premiere. The first episode, which premiered on Halloween, is called Lolli Girl and is of a decidedly comedic nature. It is light and funny and the main character is rather sweet. Lolli Girl (Chelsea Roach) is a mentally challenged homeless girl who is forever trying to sell lollipops in exchange for food. She is a happy and trusting soul and this short depicts some of the predicaments she finds herself in. I could not help but think of the Charlize Theron character from Arrested Development, they seem cut from very similar cloth. I would not be against a revisit of this character.

Back to the episode at hand, Open Call centers on Mary David (Sandy Oppedisano). She is a woman whose self-confidence has been completely sapped out of her. A woman whose life is crumbling and she feels as if she has no control over her own destiny. Following her divorce she has turned to acting to rediscover herself. The episode follows her to a couple of auditions, conversations with her mother, and the constant erosion of her identity from all angles. She seems like such a nice person, but is beset on all sides with direct and not so direct attacks on her. She feels crushed, nowhere else to turn, but a chance meeting with a director who seems to understand could turn her fate around.

This is such a good episode. I thought it got off to a bit of a rough start, I did not quite buy the reality of Mary and her therapist, but once we got a few minutes in and saw Mary living her life and going about her day I was drawn in. I actually felt for her and what she was going through. Additionally, the director she meets, played by Jack Pruett, was pretty solid as well. As I watched him it became abundantly clear that he reminded me of someone, it took a few minutes but then it hit me. He was Bryan Cranston! No, not his Breaking Bad character, but more like a friendlier, less dickish version of his role on How I Met Your Mother. Not bad. As a side note, if you watch closely, you will catch a cameo by Fangoria Magazine's Michael Gingold.

Overall, Open Call is a solid dramatic horror short. Sure it is low budget and you can tell, but Glen Baisley and his team make it work and they deliver a tight character driven piece that is easy to enjoy and worth supporting.

Keep an eye out for it. Part one lands on 12/5/14 and the conclusion arrives 12/19/13. In the meantime, visit the official Tales of Light and Dark page to see the premiere episode and other preview clips.

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