'Feeding Beatrice,' is a mix between 'Get Out' and 'Psycho'

“Feeding Beatrice” is on stage Jan. 27 through Feb. 6. (Photo courtesy Aurora Theatre)

Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” meets Alfred Hitchcock’s “Psycho” in a new production at Aurora Theatre, “Feeding Beatrice,” opening this week. The play is a Gothic tale of haunting in a contemporary American setting, the weighty world of white suburbia. Director David Koté and actor Christopher Hampton, who portrays Lurie, joined “City Lights” host Lois Reitzes via Zoom to talk about how “Feeding Beatrice” and the horror genre invite conversation about real issues while dabbling in the unreal. 

“This show is about a couple that buys a house in a predominantly white neighborhood and they discover a ghost in the house,” said Koté. ”The ghost haunts them and unearths things about them that they didn’t even know.” 

The story shares plenty in common with the critically acclaimed horror-comedy film “Get Out,” though “Feeding Beatrice” was written by Kirsten Greenidge 20 years before the movie. With both stories exploring the fearsome possibilities in Black Americans attempting to pass through white spaces safely, “Feeding Beatrice” narrows its focus on the arena of homeownership; as Koté puts it, “the horror of African-Americans chasing the American dream.” 

Hampton’s character, Lurie, might bear some resemblance to many in the audience. “Lurie is a young married man in a very similar position to myself that is looking to expand his future and his family,” Hampton said. “They have dealt with some setbacks in terms of trying to expand their life, and have moved into this new house to bring some new energy into the marriage and turn it to a new direction … a very ‘everyman’ place for a lot of people.”

The particular horrors that plague Lurie’s family offer, for Hampton, a lens through which to examine real fears of racism; in his words, the “fear of making a wrong move, of a step that you take in a wrong direction, or something that I say could be perceived in a different way, because I’m a Black man.” Hampton continued, “My consequence for that could be dire, could be the destruction of my family, or far more drastic than [for] somebody who doesn’t look like me.”

“Those tensions are brought forward in this play, but they’re not nailed on the head … Everyone in the room feels that tension, and coupling it with the horror aesthetic, it makes it so it’s not just the Black people in the room that are feeling it — everyone’s terrified,” Hampton said. “That’s one of the unifying things about horror, that it makes everybody feel the same thing and brings us together that way.”

“Feeding Beatrice” runs from Jan. 27 – Feb. 6 at Aurora Theatre in Lawrenceville. Tickets and more information can be found here.