Auburn Avenue Theater play crawls with flesh-eating zombies

By Kelsey Par - Staff Reporter

Auburn Avenue Theater is not only crawling with talent; it's also crawling with flesh-eating zombies.

Based on the fictional 1968 film classic, Night of the Living Dead written and directed by George A. Romero, Auburn Avenue Theater actors closely follow the story line in a condensed and more dramatic version.

The play starts out in the country side on a dark stormy evening when Barbra, (played by Mckenna Web) and her brother Johnny, (played by Brandon Fisher) are visiting their deceased father at a graveyard.

Although it seems peaceful, they soon realize they're not alone. After seeing what from a far looks like an ordinary man, they will encounter their worst nightmare.

This stage production hits nearly every element that made the original film as gripping and horrific as it was at the time.

Before the original film Night of the Living Dead premiered, there had previously been no mindless flesh-eating zombie films. Today it's a blue-plate special.

The open stage allows for the audience to truly feel the emotion of the characters and makes them feel as though they're graveside.

Technical director Austin Taylor, does an excellent job at creating ultimate darkness among the audience while illuminating the characters in ambient lighting. He has been the light designer for all the theater's productions since early 2013.

However, lighting wasn't the only aspect that made the performance realistic. Moaning mindless zombies staggered the aisle ways while a cold breeze drifted through the audience.

The main character Ben, (played by Chandler Thomas) did an exceptional job at portraying emotion and urgency within his character. At one point he cold-cocks his leading lady in an attempt to control the panic of a life or death situation.

And Joe Blotner excelled as a panicked father, ready to kill off the protagonist because he didn't agree with Ben's zombie-fighting tactics.

If the Auburn Avenue production has any defaults, it is that the condensing of the 95-minute movie plot into a 60-minute stage production left the introduction too slow and a rushed ending that abandoned the suspense.

The Night of the Living Dead stage production will continue on Oct. 28, at 7 p.m., Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. and 9 p.m. and Oct. 31, at 7 p.m. for the final showing.

Showings on Oct. 22, and Oct. 31, at 9:30 p.m. will contain more gore. Tickets are $15 for regular admission, $13 for students and seniors, and $18-20 at the door. Tickets can be purchased online at

For more information, visit or call 253-931-3043.

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