Stage / Zombies are the new vampires. I know all the hardcore zombites out there are cringing already, but I’m talking pop culture. The latest craze. And, depending on your perspective, unlucky/lucky Honolulu marks the site for an impending takeover by the brainsucking masses, or at least the mainstage of UH Manoa’s Kennedy Theatre, with the world premiere of Uncle Vanya and Zombies, a modern deconstruction of Anton Chekhov’s classic, staged during a reality show produced in a theater-turned-TV station in a post-nuclear Oahu wasteland. Got it?
Well, you will, because from the moment the audience enters what used to be Kennedy Theatre, they will be included in the “live taping” of the Lord of the Flies-like game show, in which contestants have to perform a classic play while fending for their lives against–what else?!–zombies.
Theatre professor and creator/director of this wildly imaginative production, Marcus Wessendorf–never one to simply put on a play–has collaborated both in and outside the university to provide a zombie brain-feast of events, from an international film series at the Honolulu Museum of Art’s Doris Duke Theatre to academic discussions of Native Hawaiian concepts of the undead. One zombilicious highlight: a free talk on Chekhov and zombies by local actress Sarah Wayne Callies, who plays Lori Grimes on AMC’s hit series The Walking Dead.
To zombie, or not to zombie–is there even a question?