MHS Moonlight Players highlight ‘zombie craze’ in fall production

Pictured is junior theatre student Dakota Mitchell having zombie make-up applied prior to the performance.

Pictured is junior theatre student Dakota Mitchell having zombie make-up applied prior to the performance.

By MICHELLE ADAMS / Community Columnist
The Montevallo High School Moonlight Players fall production this November capitalized on the popular zombie craze that is influencing almost everything in pop culture from young adult novels to television shows.
The performance included one-acts depicting the popular short stories “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and “The Tell-Tale Heart,” as well as a short comedy, “Ten Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse” by Don Zolidis.
“Sleepy Hollow” and “Tell-Tale Heart” are part of the Moonlight Players annual repertoire, typically performing those shows for students in elementary or middle school.
This year’s addition of the zombie show is a new venture for MHS theater students, and one that adds an important teaching tool to the theatre class—creating visually effective make-up.
“With the popularity of “The Walking Dead,” students loved the idea of a zombie show,” theatre teacher Mary Howard said. “And, since the script was so funny, it was a win-win choice to perform.”
Two friends of Howard’s, both University of Montevallo graduates and former gold leaders, Michael Hill and Chris Carr, provided a make-up workshop to theatre students in October, and then agreed to help prepare actors for the zombie play.
In addition to being amateur make-up artists, Hill and Carr run a YouTube channel through which they review B-rated horror films and illustrate ways to execute effective zombie make-up.
“Through the workshop and preparation for the show, students learn that make-up is more than just putting paint on their faces,” Howard said. “There is the use of latex and building pieces to create a truly frightful image.”
This production also required theatre students to tap into developing acting skills, since “The Tell-Tale Heart” is a rather ominous story and “Ten Ways to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse” provides little explanation of the characters.
“’Tell-Tale Heart’ is not lighthearted, so students had to channel a way to bring out a darker side of themselves through their character,” Howard said. “’Zombie Apocalypse’ required students to create their own back story for their characters in order to determine how best to portray him or her, from choosing costumes and props to determining ways to stress dialogue.”
This year’s fall performance drew a crowd of almost 200 patrons, with an additional show for the sixth graders, who were able to participate in a question-and-answer session with the Moonlight Players following the show.