In one of our biggest projects to date, we had the honor of staging a new play for last year’s Nightmare Horror Halloween Festival. I wrote a one-act called Night of the Touching Zombies. Our production stood out amongst the bone-chilling fare of the festival, by not being particularly scary.
Well, occasionally we would earn a legitimate shriek from some zombie-averse bystander, but ultimately we skewed more towards the ‘cute’ side of the cute-to-terrifying spectrum.
Here’s how it went: The play opens on the exterior of a small Ranch-style suburban house. The audience is immediately assaulted by a brigade of undead, and by my I-wish-I-was-John-Carpenter Night of the Touching Zombies Musical Theme
From there, we follow the struggle for survival of a suburban couple, Barbara (Anna Doyle), and Myron (Owen Scott), after an unexpected zombie apocalypse.
Capable Barbara soon finds herself taking refuge in the nearby Rambler. The house belongs to a woman of questionable mental acuity, who will only identify herself as “Grandma”
Soon, the two are joined by Grandson Ron (Anna Foss Wilson) and his son, Skillz (Zach Seekins).
Meanwhile, Myron is having a terrible time of things after accidentally turning himself into a zombie in the first scene.
After tuning-in to a questionable emergency broadcast, the group resolves to stay indoors, and turn Grandma’s rambler into a fortress. But after only a few days of each other’s company, they all go quite mad.
I won’t spoil what happens but I can reveal that the play, predictably, ends in a maelstrom of Zombified chaos, and a funk/soul hip-hop mashup.
We loved doing this show so much. Everybody was terrific in it. We ripped an old woman in half onstage.
We used cloth and paper as substitutes for liquid blood, and then splattered it all over the place.
We kicked zombies down an imaginary hill!
We re-imagined a sequence from a 1987 hit romantic dance movie
All in all NoTZ was a phenomenal experience for us. Tim Haskell and Paul Smithyman, The Nightmare Horror Show team, were a joy to work with. The other shows in the festival were all extremely creative, artistically competent, and pretty scary!
We had some technical hurdles the first few nights. But the best part of this whole experience was that we had enough performances in the run for the cast to really get the hang of the show and hit an tremendous stride. Our ‘off’ nights were fun, and our ‘on’ nights were thrilling. We scared some kids, gave some people joy and made some great friends.