Since 2007, Debbie McMahon has been creating, producing, directing and performing with her own Los Angeles based company, Grand Guignolers. They are original stylized physical performances, drawing from popular theater traditions such as Commedia Dell'Arte, melodrama, mask, mime, dance, magic, clown, vaudeville, toy theatre, Grand Guignol, and puppetry.

At a Grand Guignolers' show, you enter the theatrical world the minute you enter the venue and are immersed in the world. 

what is grand guignol? and what why it's not what we're doing

Photo by Mark Bennington

Photo by Mark Bennington

We are not trying to recreate Le Theatre du Grand Guignol (1890s-1960s) of Paris, famous for horror plays and bloody special effects. Dubbed the "Theatre of Laughter and Terror," an evening alternated short pieces of farce, horror, and drama. The name also plays on the French children's puppet, Guignol (cousin to Punch & Judy), thus meaning 'big puppet' though puppets were not part of Grand Guignol.

The company pays homage to Grand Guignol by using it as a stepping off point: to evoke a guilty pleasure, a visceral response, sometime suspenseful, offering an evening of 'hot and cold showers,' incorporating  puppet  literally and figuratively. We also play  a fictitious 1920s Parisian troupe. Grand Guignolers website.

Original productions include An Evening of Grand GuignolA Very Grand Guignol Christmas, A Grand Guignol Children's Show* (*NOT For Children), Absinthe, Opium and Magic: 1920s Shanghai.