Thursday, October 29, 2009

Zombie Alert: No, seriously ZOMBIE ALERT!!!

Posted By on Thu, Oct 29, 2009 at 1:20 PM

Angry Zombie
  • Angry Zombie
If you happen to see a bunch of Zombies protesting The New Moon Theatre Company's production of Look Away: A Civil War Zombie Tragedy don't worry. You haven't eaten too much candy, it's really happening. You see there have been some well publicized protests in New York because a hearing actor has been cast as a deaf character in Rebecca Gilman's stage adaptation of The Heart is a Lonely Hunter. That has inspired and empowered local zombies who are furious at New Moon for casting un-undead actors in Look Away. Or maybe it's all just a big publicity stunt/excuse to dress up like a zombie and lumber around the town in search of brains.

Look Away, by
Memphis playwrights Zac Cunningham and Stephen Briner, was originally brought to life in 2007. Now — like all evil creatures of the night — it’s been resurrected, and, according to director Gene Elliott, it’s “more gritty and gruesome” than ever. But the play, about a family confronting unknown terrors at the end of the Civil War, is more than an homage to the classic zombie flicks of George Romero and Dario Argento.

“Placing the show in the Civil War era works well, because it mirrors what’s going on today,” Elliott says.

Another angry zombie
  • Another angry zombie
“The country is so divided ideologically and politically that you can easily draw parallels to the Civil War. As each side tears at the other, we have zombies show up. The one thing zombies can do is work as a unified group toward their shared goal: eating brains. In our show, we have a rainbow zombie hoard: black, white, male, and female. They can get along with no arguments or misunderstandings. The live humans can’t agree on anything. It makes for a wonderful parable.”

Zombies have become the flesh-devouring masters of pop culture. They’re everywhere. Memphis’ downtown zombie march has grown into a popular annual event. The film Zombieland is doing good business at the box office. Even Jane Austen’s classic romance Pride and Prejudice has been re-imagined as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and is currently a best-seller.

“There does seem to be something about their nature that will grab people,” Elliott says. “Their sheer abandon and raw desire seem to be what drives some people’s attraction to them. For the observer, as you watch the shambling zombie, you don’t have to feel any sympathy. They’re dead, so whatever happens to them is totally acceptable. It’s like watching a train wreck and not having to feel bad for the victims.”

Briner, is currently pursuing his doctorate in cognitive psychology from the University of Chicago while Cunningham keeps himself busy as the guitarist and vocalist in the band The Bloody Foot of Rock but the duo continue to discuss the possibility of another joint project.

"Stephen and I have talked a lot about co-writing another play," says Cunningham. "Two on the drawing board right now are a politically incorrect romantic comedy about two hobos falling in love called Jack of Hearts, another is an as of yet unnamed western centering on gunslingers, gamblers, and other frontier rapscallions."

Look Away! A Civil War Zombie Tragedy
When: Oct. 30-Nov. 8
Phone: 278-7025


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