Zombie magic coming to stage at Potter Auditorium

GRETCHEN MENSINK LOVEJOY/CHATFIELD NEWS Chatfield High School students rehearse their fall play, “2222: A Zombie Apocalypse” on the Potter Auditorium stage.
Gretchen Mensink Lovejoy

Come check out that zombie magic!

The zombies will take to the stage at Potter Auditorium Friday and Saturday in the Chatfield High School fall play, “2222: The Zombie Apocalypse,” by Michael Soetaert.

“When everything comes together, it’s magic. To see all the hard work they put in pay off onstage is very rewarding,” said director Rachel Schieffelbein.

She chose the play for its brainy humor. This is the second show this group has done by this playwright, and Schieffelbein said this style of humor suits her cast. 

“I love this play, and this playwright,” she said. “He has a very quirky sense of humor that I think is fantastic and the kids really enjoy. The play is sort of a play within a play, except it’s a movie they’re filming – a low-budget zombie flick that isn’t even completely written yet.  There’s a lot going on, and a few of the characters aren’t what they seem. It’s fun and high-energy, which fits the students.” 

Schieffelbein was pleased with the turnout for auditions this fall, as the students were so enthusiastic to ply their theatrical skills that she had too many for the number of available roles – a bit like the arrival of zombies at a Sunday picnic.  Rehearsing for almost six weeks now are 31 students onstage, plus 10 backstage.

Bea Martin, Logan Johnson and Liam Manning are the seniors in the play.  The cast also includes Michael Hrstka, Seth Boettcher, Elijah Lawson, Korey Cunningham, Nick Fryer, Mary Burshem-Hrstka, Jeffery Brewer, Maria Lawson, Jake Cain, Reigns Caradine, Skyla Brewer, Emilie Copeman, Elizabeth Schieffelbein, Aletta Strande, Sydney Ellis, Peyton Ellis, Alexandria Crawford, Josh Hrstka, Josie Koenigs, Ramie Johnson, Nick Long, Trevor Garner, Henry Worden, Rebecca Copeman, Lillian Lewis, Lelani Clifford, Faith Schultz and Marick Mercer. 

Noah Lacey is stage manager, Jack Martinka and Clara Wilson are running lights while Carly Fitzgerald and Katerina Brewer are on sound.  Owen Tessier-Morse, Brian Arellano, Hannah Grebin, Mackenzee Douglas and Anna Johnson are on crew and helping with props and costumes.  Lacey, Manning and Koenigs also designed the set.
   Although that’s a lot of thespian creativity to manage, it’s refreshing to have so many new actors and actresses, she noted. 

“It’s always challenging to have so many actors onstage, especially when it’s a first play for some of them, but they’re learning about blocking and choreography, and they’re doing a great job.  We have kids in grades seven through 12 with varying levels of experience, but they’re working together, helping each other learn, and they’re doing a great job.  We’re full of surprises,” Schieffelbein said. “The zombies definitely get to have some fun in this one.  We’ve had a group of students working on choreography and even gotten help from Mike Speck at the Chatfield Center for the Arts with some fight scenes.  I hope the audience enjoys the general silliness of the show and recognizes the hard work the kids have put into it.”     

Chatfield’s drama students will present “2222:  The Zombie Apocalypse” at Potter Auditorium this Friday, Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. and Saturday, Nov. 9, at 2 p.m.  Tickets are $5 at the door, and children under 10 years of age are admitted free of charge.

“It’ll definitely hold your attention,” Schieffelbein promised.