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Zombies, fear take over Hutchins Street Square during night of theater

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Posted: Friday, February 11, 2011 8:42 am

Changing Faces Theater Company is bringing terror to Lodi with a night of dinner theater as they transform the 1968 horror film, “Night of the Living Dead,” into a play. With more than 30 cast members that range from ages 9 to 40, they are telling the story of seven people who turn on each other as the dead encroach.

Actress Morgan Poferl, 23, shares what it has been like to create this cult classic for the stage.

Q: For people who haven’t seen the film, can you offer a synopsis of the classic “Night of the Living Dead?”

A: It was kind of a launch of the zombie genre. In the film, the notion of zombies isn’t known ... people have just all of a sudden started attacking other people and eating their flesh. (It’s about people in an) old abandoned house trying to unite to survive.

Q: Have you seen the original film?

A: I have. I actually enjoy horror films a lot. This one is definitely a must-see.

Q: What is your role in “Night of the Living Dead?”

A: I’m playing Barbara. (The play) follows Barbara from the first initial incident. We slowly watch her kind of fade away after a tragic (event).

Q: How do you take what was done on film and translate it to the stage?

A: It is a little hard because you’re tapping into fear. You draw on your own experiences and what frightens you the most.

Q: Do you think the audience will feel genuine fear?

A: I believe so. We make our zombies ever present and it’s a little nerve wracking.

Q: What is the cast doing to perfect the makeup and costuming that goes into creating realistic zombies?

A: Each of our zombies have come up with their own characters, and we have the zombie club in Lodi helping us.

Q: Why are zombies so popular all of a sudden?

A: They kind of represent so much ... . We ourselves are turning into these mindless drones with all the media we surround ourselves with. Then we hear about pandemics and epidemics. I think it’s something that is so real, but so absurd. 

Q: What’s the first thing you would do if we were attacked by zombies? 

A: I would definitely grab myself a rifle and find a cellar and lock myself in there.

Q: How has the role of Barbara been challenging?

A: It’s real. It’s frightening every night. You kind of lose yourself in it. I think in the end it will be best for the audience.

Q: You’ve been acting on stage since you were 5. What other roles have you played?

A: I’ve done a lot, mostly at San Joaquin Delta College. I played a middle-aged English wife in “The Constant Life.” I’ve done a couple of musicals. I was May in “Reefer Madness,” the musical. And last spring, I was Marty in “Grease.”

Q: Do you have a favorite Zombie movie?

A: This is probably my favorite. I like “Dawn of the Dead,” too.

Q: When you’re not going to school, working or rehearsing, what do you like to do?

A: Reading is one of my favorite things to do. I like to be outside anytime I can be. 

Q: What should the audience expect from the show?

A: Definitely look forward to being entertained and for a good thrill for the evening. Just come with an open mind.

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