The Evil Dead are coming…
KNOW & GO
WHO: Synthetic Unlimited
WHAT: “Evil Dead, The Musical”
WHEN: Opens Thursday, Oct. 23 and runs through Nov. 9 Shows are at 8 p.m. Thursdays through Saturdays, with a closing show Sunday, Nov. 9
WHERE: Synthetic Unlimited Opera House, 120 Joerschke Drive in Grass Valley.
TICKETS: Tickets are $15 for members of Synthetic Unlimited, $20 for the general public and are available at http://www.syntheticunlimited.org, 1-888-95-SHOWS, and BriarPatch Co-op.
Flesh-eating zombie-demons will be a nightly sight in the Brunswick Basin for the next three weeks, but that’s nothing to worry about. Yet.
It’s just “Evil Dead, the Musical” by George Reinblatt, at the Synthetic Unlimited playhouse on Joerschke Drive. Live, so to speak.
Producers are calling it “one of the most innovative and monumental musicals ever to spray a bunch of blood in people’s faces!” And they intend to live up to that slogan. The seating chart for this particular production has a “splash zone.”
Like Sea World.
“One of my favorite things about it is that I am putting the actors in the middle of the audience, so the audience kind of sandwiches the action on two sides of the venue,” said Camen Hodges, the production’s director.
To do that, he’s taking advantage of Synthetic Unlimited’s layout — which is atypical for a traditional theater.
“We’re in basically an old muffler shop,” he said. “There’s a big roll up door on one end, the stage is on the far wall with seating on the right and the left.”
Those middle rows, close to where the action is, are the “splash zone.”
The film version of Evil Dead was an iconic b-movie horror flick. It inspired two sequels, which are more popular than the original in certain circles.
The franchise became increasingly campy or tongue-in-cheek as it turned into a trilogy in the early ‘90s. With “Army of Darkness,” 1992, the shotgun-wielding one-armed protagonist is transported back in time to fight flesh-eating zombie demons in the year 1300.
In 2013 Director Fede Alvarez released a scarier, less campy remake of the original, bringing the franchise back to theaters for the first time in 20 years with a bare minimum of humor and snark. Hodges is taking his production in a different direction.
When Evil Dead debuts locally on stage, it will be a musical, written by George Reinblatt. The stage adaptation is actually a parody of the original 1981 film directed by Sam Raimi.
“I really wanted to walk the line between laugh out loud hilarious, and startling with kind of a creepy edge,” Hodges said. “That’s what I think the movies do so well – they are hilarious and totally over the top ridiculous, but you walk out after seeing them with a really creepy vibe.”
“They’re kind of disturbing on a deeper level,” he said. “It’s not just a slasher movie. There’s something more to it… But it is a musical, and the jokes are hilarious.”
The cast and crew have been busy this week, preparing for opening night. Hodges said that they’re ready, but this show presented some new challenges.
“It’s always rough,” Hodges said, referring to this last week of rehearsals.
“They call it hell week for a reason,” he said. “But it’s a really technical show, so we’re doing lots of blood and costume changes.”
“I don’t think we’ve done quite this technical a show before, so that’s going to be pretty interesting to see,” he added.
The first public showing is scheduled for Thursday (Oct. 23). Hodges will use this performance to iron out any kinks.
“That show’s a preview, so it’s our final dress rehearsal,” Hodges said. “It’s a donation only.”
That presentation may or may not start with an advisory for the audience that the show might have to be interrupted if things get dangerous.
“Evil Dead, The Musical” debuts with a gala opening Friday — and the production runs through Nov. 9. They’re also hosting a midnight showing Halloween night, Oct. 31.
For more information, go to www. syntheticunlimited.org.
To contact Staff Writer Dave Brooksher, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4230.
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