Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Closet Zombies!

The smallest theater of the Orlando Fringe is in a closet at the Orlando Shakespeare Theater. The closet was turned into a puppet theater by Jeff Ferree. The title of the play is "AAAAAAGGGHHH Zombies!!! ... Because Zombies Sell." Jeff won a small grant to help with the expenses of building the set and puppets. Performances are free with a small cardboard box outside the theater for donations. A small poster of a rabbit creating a shadow puppet of a human hand declared the closet to be the Jamie Mykins theater.

On the opening night of the Fringe, I found myself trapped inside the shakes because it began to rain really hard outside. As I relaxed in the lounge area, I overheard that the first performance in the closet would happen at 9pm. That gave me an hour to piece together a sketch. I opened the closet door and got to work. I was seated in a narrow hallway and volunteers had to squeeze around me. Ed Anthony, one of DEM Guys was first in line for the show. He stepped inside and looked around.

The walls were covered in canvas with violet and green brickwork. A make shift wall stood in the corner of the closet and a green zombie puppet hung limp out of the stage opening. Glow in the dark zombie faces hung from the ceiling along with what looked like lime green sea weed. There was a bag of those foam floaty rods in front of the stage. The line for the theater grew longer. Purple "Brain" cupcakes were served to audience members waiting in line. Jeff squeezed into the tight space behind the curtain and Jamie  declared the theater open. Jamie helped Jeff with the audience interactions. Together they broke the 4th wall. At least ten people must have crowded into that tight space, looking like an insanely crowded subway car or elevator. The theater door was closed. An important rule to remember at Fringe, is that if you leave a theater during a performance, there is no re-entry. If you are claustrophobic or zombiephobic then this might not be the show for you.

I stayed in the hallway, continuing to add color washes to my sketch. I heart laughter and shouting from inside the closet and kind of wished I had pressed inside. After the show, Jeff complained that a few cues were missed and he got nervous when he saw that theater critic Seth Kubersky was in the audience. All I heard however was laughter at the dead pan jokes. Gina Yolango was in the hallway and she was moved to tears when she began talking to Jamie about a Fringe show she had just seen called "Medicine" by T.J. Dawe . The Fringe has it all, from light hearted puppetry in a closet to theater moments that can affect your deepest emotions.

Thursday May 24th at 9:00PM
Friday May 25th at 9:00PM
Saturday May 26th at 9:00PM

Performances are Free in a closet near the Fringe Volunteer's office at the Shakes.

Prints are available for each sketch for $250 and many originals can be purchased for $400. White museum grade shadow box frames are $100 more. You can e-mail Thor at

1 comment:

DennaBeena said...

I was in there and even though you could see Jeff had a few bumps, I think it's safe to say we have fun! :D