That On-Stage Feeling

December 8, 2008
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“Uhhhhhg…uuhhhhhhhg……brainnnnns…..” My foot slides across the concrete floor, my arm limp at my side. Cue to stage left. “Uhhhhhhhhhhhhhnnn,” in comes Daniel, moaning louder than the rest. His overalls are torn and dirty, perfect to create that visual theatrical sense. I look like a zombie, and that’s what I am, but I feel like the most beautiful person in the world right now. My hairs a mess, my clothes are stained, and there's blood running down my cheek. But I still feel amazing. The stage can do wonderful things to you. It does everything for me, and asks for nothing in return.

This year I performed in a local theatres production of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. I played Leslie, a zombie waitress with a fork in her neck. And even though I looked gross and dead, I still felt incredible on stage. Every night I had a sensation of dread before the show. A million thoughts raced through me at a million miles per hour. “I hope I don’t screw up. What’s my cue again? What stage do I enter on? How does the dance go? Will I have time to get dressed?!” But the second I got backstage, it all disappeared.
Going into overdrive, I rush to the dressing room with costume in hand. Getting into costume a hush falls over the room- “Open house!” We hear the stage manager yell. “Thank you open house,” We all reply in unison. Happily in costume, I smear makeup, dirt, and blood all over my face. Mmm, Chocolate, I think to myself as I see a fellow zombie try some prop blood, made mostly of chocolate syrup. But I won’t say anything, Open house ment that people were not in the lobbies anymore, but in the seats, and sound travels in a theatre. The lights flick off and we hear our director’s voice over the speakers. “To all who are here, I’m so scared!” The intro trails on, informing our guests of normal rules, no food or drink, cell phones off, “and keep your hands and feet our of the isles at all times, for the living dead will be walking among us!” The intro finishes with a thunderbolt, and the show begins. My heart thudding like a drum, I wait for my cue. “And I said, umm…gosh it’s hot here. Why…why’s it so hot?! And I said ‘We don’t have any candy Johnny…” There it is!

Dragging my foot behind me Austin and I are a go! Groaning and moaning, like we learned in Zombie School, lessons taught by our makeup artist, director, and fellow actors, we ignore the audience, somehow terrifying them more. Daniel enters; coming close to a few Girl Scouts, screaming begins. That was my favorite part! To know that we could be so real and inspire that much fear into audience members made it all much better. I force myself not to smile, Zombie’s don’t smile you know, and keep trudging on.

After my first scene I quickly retreat backstage, my heart still beating against my chest like a bee in a glass jar. Abby signals me over and my least favorite part of the night is underway. Squuuuuuuuuish!!! I dip my entire hands into sticky, chocolate, blood, and wait for my cue. Hearing it, Abby and I descend into character and the darkness of the stage. Our goal of the night; Get Helen Cooper bloody! Smearing our hands over her wrists we’re fought off by Ben, the hero of the show. Angry and not afraid to show it, Abby and I growl and slump back to the backstage area. It’s a frenzy as the Entrail Zombies, zombies who have to knaw on fake bones and intestines, Abby, and I all try to wash our hands in one small water tub, before we have to go on stage in exactly one and a half minutes. Groovy Seventies music plays as gunshots go off. POP! POP! ….? Uh, oh! Gun malfunction! “BANG” Ben shouts, filling in for the gun shots that aren’t sounding. “BANG! BANG!” The crowd roars with laughter as Ben improvises.

All the backstage zombies line up and wait for our cue.
“Don’t make me do it, Karen. Get away from me. I SAID NO!” POP! The gun works again and all the zombies move out. Entering from stage left, we shuffle past the live guitar playing zombie in the corner and get to our ending place, suddenly the lights dim and all the zombies fall. Applause is heard as the audience is fooled into thinking its over. The lights fade back in as the sheriff steps over us lightly. “They’re dead…” he says, “They all messed up!” A big laugh from the crowd. Little do they know…The sheriff enters the house on stage and sees Ben but mistakes him for a zombie.
“Wha…wait, what? NO!” POP! He’s shot. But it’s not over yet. All the zombies rise and attack the audience. Me and Annie the Clown Zombie, clowns scare EVERYONE, gang up on one unlucky girl in the front row, she squirms trying to escape but she can’t, and then…the music starts! Ending the show with a choreographed, perfect to the last detail, THRILLER dance, we leave the stage and enter the lobby for photos with scared audience members.

After a night of performing, nothing can get to me, and the adrenaline carries over to the next day. Still happy and carefree, I want nothing more than to be on stage. The rush, terror, and overall feeling of joy is enough to bring anyone to the stage, and keep them there forever.





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This article has 3 comments. Post your own now!

zombie cast mate said...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 1:10 pm
Hey Zoe! i am amazed how well this was writen and feel honored to be included in this!
 
guitar zombie #1 said...
Jan. 14, 2009 at 4:39 pm
Hey Zoe! You write as good as you zombie! It was great work with you and extra great to read your experience!
 
NonnaDonna said...
Jan. 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm
I'm amazed that Zoe writes so well and enjoys the thrill of the stage. Keep up the good work.
 
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