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Wednesday, October 27, 2010

“Evenings In Quarantine: The Zombie Opera” Has Got Bite!

Dan Barkasi

When awareness of “Evenings In Quarantine: The Zombie Opera” hit at the most recent Horror Realm convention, the concept itself was quite intriguing - an opera, with a story centering on a zombie apocalypse.  Now, this writer is a huge fan of “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” which was a stunning masterpiece of creativity.  My first thought was that this could be quite similar to “Repo! The Genetic Opera” in style, to which is a welcome notion.  However, it was unknown how well it would be pulled off.

The plot revolved around three friends trying to survive the zombification of their world, with each having a particular motive.  One – Ronnie – was hoping to get to her father, who was located at a safe zone in the Oakland area of Pittsburgh, PA.  Another – Izzie – was desperately trying to get to and save her younger brother.  The third – Charles – was hopelessly in love with Ronnie, and would stop at nothing to save her.  That’s all that will be revealed here, as to not go further in depth and spoil what happens in the show.

What can be said, however, is that this production was an enjoyable and unique look at the zombie universe.  No zombie-related undertaking has ever been quite like “Evenings In Quarantine: The Zombie Opera,” with its combination of filmed and live pieces, all of them performed in an operatic fashion.  Throughout the entire production, a full-length film served as a background, of which the stage performers would react to throughout the entire show.  For example, while at a house party, trying to save a friend, there are people in the background, and the actors react to them as such – especially when there’s an invasion of the undead persuasion.  This interactivity was pulled off without a hitch, and thankfully so, as any mistiming could have been disastrous.  Good preparation and skill shown off, for sure.  Zombie extras are also used extensively, with numerous undead appearing from many areas of the theater to hunt down our protagonists.

The story itself worked on every level, boasting effective plot twists, a few scares, and even with some well-placed doses of humor.  Most notable being the reports of a local newscaster, describing the most current events relating to the crisis, with each subsequent update being more grim than the last.

Of course, one of the most important bits of an opera is the singing.  Low-quality songs and vocal performances will send any opera crashing in a blaze of ineptitude awfully quick.  However, we are graced with spot-on singing and songs that are crafted to a tee.  To those fans of the aforementioned “Repo! The Genetic Opera,” the songs here aren’t towards the industrial end of sound.  Instead, they are much more traditional opera, which fit the production well and were performed faultlessly.

“Evenings In Quarantine: The Zombie Opera” receives my utmost recommendation.  It’s a clever, one-of-a-kind show that rounds out to be a wonderful experience.  Here is where I’d say if you get the chance, go and see this.  However, every performance is now sold out.  If you’re one of the lucky ones that have tickets, enjoy, as it is truly a wonderful show that any open-minded zombie aficionado should enjoy.  If not, then hope for more dates in the future.  With the show quickly selling out – and considering the quality of the opera – future performances would not come as a surprise.

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