Sunday, October 26, 2014

Zombies in Zizzerland

by Pa Rock
Theatre Fan

It's a beautiful fall day here in the Ozarks.  The sky is a cloudless blue, the air is still surprisingly warm, and the colorful harvest of autumn leaves are slowly drifting to the ground where they peacefully await the rake, or the mower, or the brisk winds of winter that will carry them off to the yards of my neighbors!

Last night I had the pleasure of watching a fine theatrical production by the Avenue Theatre  troupe here in West Plains.  The play, just in time for Halloween, was a stage version of the old movie classic, Night of the Living Dead.   The adaptation for the stage was written by Lori Allen Ohm, and the play was directed locally by Jim Clemens.

The theatrical company, many of whom are young people from the community (Go, Zizzers!), are a robust group of individuals who appear to be at ease in their roles both on and off stage.  The acting as well as the technical aspects of the productions of the Avenue Theatre are consistently professional.

The local production of Night of the Living Dead had some startling moments designed to put the audience into jump-and-shriek mode, but overall it seemed to promote fun over fright.  Yes, there were zombies stumbling up and down the aisles and in front of the stage, and the actors did get shot, mauled, and eaten - but it was all in a spirit of good, clean fun!  The audience was very engaged with the action, and some members of the audience even show up in costume.

The Night of the Living Dead will continue next weekend with performances Friday (Halloween!) and Saturday nights at 7:00 p.m.  It is a relatively brief production lasting just under an hour and fifteen minutes - even with a fifteen minute break between acts.  And while the run time is short, the laughs and screams are long!

Take your best ghoul out for a treat this Halloween and see The Night of the Living Dead at the historic Avenue Theatre in West Plains.  It will leave you hungering for more!

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