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Step inside a ‘Wordier’ haunted house this weekend

Bill DeYoung



A scene from Wordier Than Thou's haunted house. Photos provided.

St. Petersburg’s vast literary community does so many things in unique, bookish ways. Even Halloween.

Wordier Than Thou, the nonprofit organization dedicated to producing and promoting prose- and poetry-centric events all year round, is back tonight and Saturday with Read No More: The Murder House.

Originating in 2015, it consists of a guided tour through the big rooms of an older St. Petersburg home.

In four of these rooms, actors perform a specially-written, decidedly spooky, play about strange things that have been – or might still be – going on in there.

“I think it’s just a really different sort of event, whether you’re into Halloween or whether you’re into theater and the arts,” says Wordier Than Thou founder Tiffany Razzano. “It brings it all together.

“You go to haunted houses, and the theme park Halloween events, and it’s a lot of weird, creepy stuff and people jumping out at you. No real substance to it. It’s fun, but there’s no substance.

“We bring that artistic element to it. And it’s still fun, and scary, and weird and unsettling.”

The works were written by Amanda Dodge, Cole Bellamy, Austin Collins and Razzano. The 2022 cast includes Deb Birchler, Jazzie Davis, Andrea Dee, Mike Fasso and Jonathan Hecht.

It’s not a real murder house, Razzano emphasizes. “Everything is fictional; some people just have a scary idea, or an interesting idea, or they play with those horror movie tropes and kind of put their own twist on it. Other folks lean into local history or Florida history and play with those ideas a little bit.”

Wordier board member Bellamy, in a story Razzano wrote for Creative Pinellas, called the Read No More Halloween event “a blast. We’re doing weird underground theater, but without any pretensions or self-importance – just letting writers and actors play around and tell some spooky stories.”

There are four plays, each around 10 minutes in length. “The past few years, we’ve been kind of creating little storylines to tie them all together,” Razzano explains, “which is how the Murder House idea came up.”

There are several scheduled tours each evening; the cap is 15 people per tour.

In 2021, because of Covid, Read No More was held in the house’s back yard.

It’s all indoors this time around. As it was meant to be. “Last year was really funny, because we didn’t know what to expect,” Razzano says. “We had some tiki torches and were like ‘That’s gonna work!’ And then it rained. It was an ‘A’ for effort. ‘A’ for good intentions.”

All details and tickets are here.

Cast and writers from an earlier edition of Read No More.












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