Country-folk singer-songwriter Matraca Berg's new record, The Dreaming Fields, was 14 years in the making.
Michael Brewer has two severed heads and a set of daggers on his bed and a moose head on his dining room table.
It goes with the territory when you're working on Evil Dead The Musical.
"I've been waiting for the scary dreams to start," Brewer said, only half-joking.
Brewer is set designer for CATCO's production of Evil Dead The Musical, which opens next week. He said that, from a special-effects standpoint, it's the biggest show he's ever done, including operas and large-cast musicals.
"We're having (production) conversations about a singing beaver," Brewer said.
The show is a spoof of the popular cult slasher films, CATCO artistic director Steven Anderson, who also directs Evil Dead, told The Beat.
As such, Brewer explained, the effects are designed to be "cool and awesome, but not scary. Believable, but not realistic."
"It's a musical," Anderson added. "We have eight good voices. The show is good fun, good comedy. Folks are going to walk out of the theatre humming the melodies. The other stuff is just icing on the cake."
Actually, the other stuff is not so much cake decoration but severed body parts ("I've spent hours looking for and buying body parts," Brewer said, ostensibly meaning fake ones) and blood. Lots of blood. The theatre will include a "Safe Zone" and a "Splatter Zone."
The splattering blood has been measured at a maximum of 18 feet.
"We'll be providing protection," Anderson assured.
Josef Matulich was brought in to be the show's "blood czar."
"There's no such thing as an expert," Matulich explained. "It's more mad inventor status."
He said he's worked with a variety of mixtures -- that, in addition to the visual effect, the blood formula must also be washable (costumes must last the three-week run, for example), must be safe enough for actors to be sprayed in the face and needs to not jam the pumps and fixtures used to deliver the blood.
For example, there is a scene in which an actor is stabbed with a dagger that is followed by a song delivered while using a hand pump to pump blood from the "wound."
"When an actor has to sing and dance while spurting blood, it complicates things," Matulich said.
Indeed -- the functionality of the blood delivery mechanisms impacts more than just the technical aspect of the show.
"The challenge in blocking the show was, whereas normally you are concerned with stage fixtures and the relationships of the actors, you have to get the actors to where things can happen, but get them there in a way that makes sense," Anderson explained.
"I'm comfortable we've achieved the goal of making it plausible and natural," Brewer added.
Apart from the times actors are asked to handle certain effects, much of the rest of the bleeding is coordinated from a single workstation under the stage, designed and built by Matulich.
"It's like a command center with gang valves," he said. "I've discovered more types of plumbing fittings than I knew existed."
"You start out with an ideal of what you want and then work with the team to discover what you can do," Anderson said. "I've been amazed at how close to ideal you can get."
For more on CATCO's production of Evil Dead The Musical, read the BeatBlog.