Werewolves and vampires, mad scientists and monsters, freaks, geeks, and other creatures of the night will emerge from the dark this weekend when a preternatural troupe of Marion High School actors perform “The Werewolf’s Curse or Hair Today, Gone Tomorrow” by Billy St. John.
While actors will shiver with hammed-up trepidation, play director Janet Killough said there is nothing to be afraid of in the production.
“It’s a spoof on 1930s classic horror movies,” Killough said. “Everything is overdone and melodramatic. There is nothing intellectual in it. It’s just pure entertainment.”
With quirky old sound effects, suspenseful music, a mob chasing a monster, and vintage stage flats, this is the first play MHS has performed under Killough with elements of horror in it.
“It’s a fun show,” she said. “The kids just think it’s hilarious. There are so many characters, characters that are a little crazy and off-the-wall.”
Action centers around veterinary student Harry Pate, played by senior Cade Harms, who is bitten by a werewolf cub while on a field trip in Rumania. He soon sprouts hair in unusual places and begins craving roast beef to the shock and dismay of his vegetarian finance Etta Greenleaf, a botany student played by senior Tori Boyd.
“The audience will get to see him change into a werewolf onstage and change back,” she said. “He sort of turns into a werewolf but doesn’t completely change. We haven’t worked out how we will do it yet, but we have a plan.”
The confused couple soon seeks consultation from Madam Clara Voyant, a gypsy fortune teller played by senior Haley Watson, at Dr. Frank Einstein’s castle.
The “good” doctor, a mad scientist played by senior Nathan Baldwin, hatches an electrifying plan to transform Harry Pate into a full-fledged werewolf, then turn a profit by selling him to Professor Wonder, a carnival owner played by junior Caleb Hett.
“Nate and Caleb have great scene where they swap diabolical laughs,” Killough said
Professor Wonder’s carnival freakshow is packed with freaks that are freaky because of their shocking lack of freakiness, she said.
The audience will encounter Siamese twins joined at the fingertip, a sword-swallower with a chronic sore throat, a wimpy strongman, a tattooed woman with one tattoo, and a bearded lady.
A pale monster with claw-like hands that “looks like it has been dead for a very long time,” also lurks throughout the play, Killough said.
A 200-year-old vampire who only drinks juice because his mother was a fruit bat, belly dancer, a 4,000-year-old mummy, a village idiot, and villagers who all have the same last name “Doppelganger,” round out the menagerie of kooky characters.
“Hap Waddell plays three women and three men in the village, and it’s a very small village; they are almost all related so that’s a little gross,” Killough said. “There is one scene where his characters are the complete scene. He has a lot of costume changes.”
Doors open at 6:30 p.m. and the show starts at 7 p.m. both Friday and Saturday. General admission tickets will be sold at the door, $3 for adults and $2 children 12 and under.