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In “Living Dead in Denmark,” When the Dead Walk, You Better Run!

Henry Stokes, Angie Sumner, and Alexa Yeames (photo by Adam Graetz)

Henry Stokes, Angie Sumner, and Alexa Yeames (photo by Adam Graetz)

ArtsCenter Stage and The ArtsCenter’s Youth Performing Arts Conservatory will present Living Dead in Denmark, a 2006 comic-book fantasia by Brooklyn-based Vietnamese-American dramatist Qui Nguyen, artistic director of the New York City-based Vampire Cowboys theater company, at 8 p.m. on Oct. 15th and 16th and 3 p.m. on Oct. 17th in the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater in Carrboro, NC. This youth-theater production is intended for audiences aged 14 and up.

According to The ArtsCenter:

“The ArtsCenter presents a Halloween love letter to [William] Shakespeare, comic books and martial-arts action films. Living Dead in Denmark fuses pop-culture, stage combat, zombies, high action, and comedy for a soon-to-be-Halloween classic. The production is intended for audiences 14 and up.

Living Dead in Denmark is an action-adventure/comedy/horror sequel to Hamlet. Set five years after the events in Hamlet, the undead, led by the Zombie Lord and True King of Denmark, have risen to power and are poised to take over the world. Fortinbras, assembling a formidable opposition, has resurrected the corpses of some of the greatest women that Shakespeare ever wrote: Lady Macbeth, Juliet, and the very angry Ophelia.

“Shakespeare’s teenage-heroines-turned-Goth warriors, with the aid of their friend, Horatio, are given the opportunity to avenge their names and set the world right. The four hack away at flesh-eating zombies, led in battle by the Zombie Lord and his Council of Winter, Titania, Puck, Caliban, and the Three Witches. With kickboxing moves, ninja-style action, and sword fighting, a clash of the titans ensues!

Living Dead in Denmark is a co-production between ArtsCenter Stage and the Youth Performing Arts Conservatory. The cast is comprised of teenagers between the ages of 12 and 17, while high school designers tackle assistant directing, costume, lighting, scenic, and sound design. Led by adult mentors with professional experience in their fields, the designers are learning the creative craft of technical theater, from conception, planning, collaboration, and on through to execution.

“‘I am excited for the student designers to have an opportunity to showcase their work,’ says Lawruh Lindsey, Youth Performing Arts Conservatory director. ‘Their creativity and imaginations are limitless! The magnificent scale of the students’ designs displays their desire to say ‘YES’ and find innovative solutions to every problem. As a designer myself, I grew up wishing I had more opportunities to sink my teeth into a show; and I am so delighted that these students have that chance now!’

“‘Providing additional opportunities for student actors in the area has been an ongoing goal at The ArtsCenter,’ explains ArtsCenter Stage director Jeri Lynn Schulke. ‘It was a natural progression to open our doors, resources, and training to student designers with this production.’

“The cast showcases actors from Chapel Hill, Carrboro, and the surrounding areas: Nicole Casper, Lauren Dobbs, Ardyn Flynt, Katherine Gunn, Rachel Harris, Molly McDonough, Alex Pellett, Ian Phillips, Christopher Stevens-Brown, Henry Stokes, Angie Sumner, Alexa Yeames, [and] Anastasia Zitko.

“The director for Living Dead in Denmark is Joshua Waterstone, with stage management by Katherine Osborn. Scenic and lighting design is by Alice Harris, with mentors Rob Hamilton and Lawruh Lindsey; sound design by Blake Robinette, with mentor Adam Sampieri; [and] costume and prop design is by Meghan Theye, with mentor Katharine Whalen. Assistant director Tanner Caplan rounds out the production team….

“Housed at The ArtsCenter, YPAC [Youth Performing Arts Conservatory] is a performing-arts program for students age 2-18. Since 2005, YPAC has provided performing arts instruction for hundreds of students in Chapel Hill/Carrboro and the surrounding area. YPAC offers classes, performance opportunities, instruction in technical theater, and a School of Rock & Roll. Classes include acting, musical theater, stage combat, on-camera acting, improvisation, lighting, costume and scenic design, and more.

“International theater at its most local, ArtsCenter Stage showcases the work of emerging and established artists, hailing from next-door to around the world. Featuring new works and re-inventions of the classics, improvisation and storytelling, puppetry and musicals, [and] theater for younger and older audiences, ArtsCenter Stage is community-oriented theater with a commitment to developing new artists and audiences.”

The ArtsCenter presents LIVING DEAD IN DENMARK at 8 p.m. Oct. 15 and 16 and 3 p.m. Oct. 17 in the Earl and Rhoda Wynn Theater, 300G E. Main St., Carrboro, North Carolina 27510.

TICKETS: $15 ($10 students and $13 ArtsClub Members).

BOX OFFICE: 919/929-2787 or http://www.etix.com/.

SHOW: http://www.artscenterlive.org/index.php?a=Theatre&b=Current Productions&id=930.

PRESENTER/VENUE: http://www.artscenterlive.org/.

DIRECTIONS: http://www.artscenterlive.org/index.php?a=About Us&b=Directions.

OTHER LINKS:

ArtsCenter Stage: http://www.artscenterlive.org/index.php?a=Theatre&b=About (official web page).

Youth Performing Arts Conservatory: http://www.artscenterlive.org/index.php?a=Youth&b=Conservatory (official web page).

Qui Nguyen: http://www.vampirecowboys.com/bio.htm (Vampire Cowboys) and http://beyondabsurdity.blogspot.com/ (his blog).

EDITOR’S NOTE:

Robert W. McDowell is editor and publisher of Triangle Theater Review, a FREE weekly e-mail theatrical newsletter that provides more comprehensive, in-depth coverage of Raleigh, Durham, and Chapel Hill theater than all of the other news media combined. This review is reprinted with permission from Triangle Theater Review.

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