PVA visits the darkside with “Little Shop of Horrors”

From Nov. 16 to 18, the department of performing and visual arts will present  “Little Shop of Horrors,” the classic black comedy rock musical, in the Don Taft University Center’s Blackbox Theatre.

This production, directed by Bill Adams, an associate professor in the department of performing and visual arts, will explore the darkside of the musical genre with the classic 60’s horror comedy movie. The film evolved into a 1980’s cult-classic film and a major broadway production that has “devoured hearts for the past 30 years,” according to the musical’s description on the PVA website.

“This show is particularly current since the show follows the [German] Faustian legend, which is when Faust sold his soul to the devil for love,” said Adams.

The performance mainly revolves around Seymour Krelborn, a floral assistant who discovers a new plant species he names ”Audrey II,” after a girl he admires.  The plant, the major antagonist in the performance, craves blood for survival. Hilarity and tragedy ensue as Krelborn continues to feed this mysterious plant.

Although this show can be described as “bizarre and implausible,” the students in the production have worked hard to keep the characters as realistic and faithful to the source material as possible.

“We tried to keep the characters very true and very lifelike. We didn’t want to go for a caricature We wanted to keep them grounded in the world of the show even though [some events] are fantastical and out-there. We are staying true to their human qualities and there are are a lot of great relationships between the characters in the show that have developed through the process of the show,” said Kaeleigh Sturgeon, a sophomore theater major who plays the role of Audrey in the show.

Through this experience, students involved in the production were able to hone their craft while making new friends in the process.

“Working on ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ has been such an exciting and rewarding experience. As a cast, we have so much fun together and it has been so enjoyable to watch everyone develop their characters from the very beginning of rehearsals into tech week. Creating art with such talented and funny people has been an honor and a privilege,” said Julia Kelly, sophomore communications major and ensemble member of the production.

This production has brought challenges for the students and faculty involved. Audrey II, demanded some technical work because the plant is designed to speak and move during the show. Daniel Gelbmann, the technical designer of the plant and assistant professor in the department of performing visual arts, worked with students to build the puppet from scratch.

Mia Andahazy, sophomore marine biology and stage manager of the show said, “There are five models of the plant and without giving away too much, has really taken [the show] to the next level. We’ve been playing with the plant having magical and mystical elements to it. Having [the set and costumes and design] all being in grayscale and having the plant be the only thing in color, really draw your eye to it. It really emphasizes that this plant is as special as it is [to this show] It’s a character, it really is.”

The actors in this production have also been challenged as they will perform this entire show without the use of microphones. In music theater, actors traditionally wear microphones to save their voice from strain and allow for audience members to hear them clearly.

“We are not using microphones for this show, so students must project or ‘pump it up’ to really let their audience hear them. I’ve challenged them to use their voices more appropriately, healthier and to [project],” said Adams.

For students new to the world of theater, this show has a Tim Burton-esque scenic design elements throughout. The scene, set and location of the show have a futuristic 60’s feeling.

“If you come to see ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ expect to dance, laugh and cry while listening to an upbeat and beautiful score. It is an exciting show you don’t want to miss,” said Kelly.

The show does have some relevant themes with underlying messages and the cast hopes audiences can learn from the show while enjoying the theatrics of it all.

“It’s a tragedy. I think there are some classic lessons to be learned. Consider very carefully before you make choices in life and be true to yourself. That’s as old as it gets…and don’t sell your soul to the devil,” said Adams.

Students interested in attending the show are encourage to buy tickets in advance as tickets sell out quickly. Students with a valid NSU student ID can purchase tickets for $7. Visit www.web.ovationtix.com/trs/pr/994773 to purchase tickets for the show online.

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