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Zombie apocalypse in full swing at SCC for fall play

A group of St. Croix Central High School students work on re-painting the sets for the school’s upcoming play “10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse,” which will open on Friday, Nov. 18 and have a second performance on Saturday, Nov. 19. (Photo by Jordan Willi)

With the zombie apocalypse in full swing on the St. Croix Central High School stage, it is important to know how to survive the zombie hordes. That is where this year’s high school play — 10 Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse by Don Zolidis — comes in.

“Last year we did a very child/kid friendly and we were looking for something a little different,” said drama director Melanie Neumann. “At one point we had talked about doing a haunted house in town, but when that fell through we still wanted to do something that had the Halloween theme. After going through nine different scripts, this one was funny and not scary, but still allowed us to use the costuming we would have used for the haunted house.”

This year’s production will feature two 7 p.m. shows, one on Friday, Nov. 18 and a second on Saturday, Nov. 19.

“I’m pretty confident we will do well on opening night,” said student director and junior Robyn Pfeifer. “It is a really funny show and I think the actors are doing a really good job of portraying that to the audience. It is really interesting to watch them rehearse since it is really different from anything we have done. It kind of just focuses more on acting than some of our other plays in the past.”

With the play being a departure from the school’s normal drama department fare, many of the students had to find a balance between being funny and staying true to the theme of the play.

“This show is a little different because it requires more acting and is also one of the first real comedies I’ve done as an actor,” junior Ashlyn Mettler said. “The show is challenging since you have to put yourself into the mindset that you are in the zombie apocalypse, but still be funny. Combining those both is interesting.”

One of the problems that the cast ran into early on, Neumann said, was not being able to keep a scene together after someone delivers a new line or joke for the first time.

“The only problem we’ve had with this play is that our actors keep forgetting that they aren’t supposed to laugh,” Neumann said. “They aren’t supposed to be the ones laughing, that’s the audience’s’ job. When they laugh at the jokes they break the scene and that isn’t good.”

Like any production across world, there will be speed bumps. The St. Croix Central drama department’s speed bumps came in the form of students leaving the production after being cast due to scheduling conflicts.

“I feel like everyone has been doing really well with all the complications we have had throughout the process,” Pfeifer said. “There is one person who is playing one character in one scene and then switching out to play another one that someone dropped after they left the production. They’ve done a really good job changing over and doing the best they can to know their new lines.”

Although the school’s new auditorium is close to being completed, it won’t be ready for the fall play. However, the cast and crew have worked hard to set up the play in the commons.

“The hardest part about this year’s play is that we don’t have anywhere to put the sets, so we have been putting them wherever we can find space,” said stage manager Chris Harney. “But we are close to being done now and should be done well before opening night. The sets will be done, painted and ready to go soon. We used some of the settings we used in a past show to show people that the apocalypse is in full swing when you start out the play.”

Production on the play started back in September, Mettler said, and the students are almost ready to start dress rehearsals.

“We are coming along pretty well for being two months or so into production,” Mettler said. “We are off scripts right now, so once the sets are done we can start getting into dress rehearsals.”

Even though the show is meant to be funny and entertaining, Neumann warns parents against bringing young children who aren’t able to understand sarcasm.

“If you are bringing kids they really should understand sarcasm because if they bring really young children who don’t understand sarcasm they will be afraid of the show,” Neumann said. “Older children, depending on their level of understanding, are going to love it. I think it is funny, so I think adults as well will think it is funny too. It might not be scary, but with the sarcasm involved and the fact that there are zombies on the stage some kids that don’t understand will find it scary.”

Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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