Justin Stapleton, as Ben, attempts to survive a horde of zombies coming through the windows in Olympic Theatre Arts’ “Night of the Living Dead.” The OTA show opens tonight and runs through Halloween evening. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

Justin Stapleton, as Ben, attempts to survive a horde of zombies coming through the windows in Olympic Theatre Arts’ “Night of the Living Dead.” The OTA show opens tonight and runs through Halloween evening. (Matthew Nash/Olympic Peninsula News Group)

‘Night of the Living Dead’ resurrected at OTA

SEQUIM — The dead rise once again on Olympic Theatre Arts’ stage this Halloween season.

“Night of the Living Dead” returns to the OTA stage, following George Romero and John A. Russo’s original screenplay.

Director Bailey Loveless has set the story in 2020 at the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic as the world faces lock-downs and growing fear.

Eight spooky showings are planned: 7 p.m. tonight and Saturday and Oct. 27, 28, 30 and 31; and 2 p.m. Sunday and Oct. 29. Tickets are available online at olympictheatrearts.org or by calling 360-683-7326 from 1-4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

Tickets are$20 general admission, with students $15. They are available online or by calling 360-683-7326 between 1 p.m. and 4 p.m. Tuesday-Friday.

“Night” follows a group of strangers that seek refuge from the undead but find they might be bigger threats to each other.

Loveless said with the movie in the public domain, she rewatched it and rewrote OTA’s stage play to be as faithful to it while contextualizing it with current day.

“I think my favorite element is that it makes the characters very relatable,” she said.

“We can see a lot more of ourselves or people we know in these characters especially in something (the pandemic) that we all just went through.”

Matt Forrest, who directed last year’s version, returns to play one of the main characters “Tom,” saying it looked like so much fun last year he wanted to join in on fighting zombies, too.

He said this version stays true to the original movie while alluding to familiar things from 2020 such as toilet paper hoarding.

Forrest said it’s also appealing to a different crowd than usual theater-goers in Sequim.

Father-and-son duo Andrew Guimond and 12-year-old Riley return to play zombies this year. Andrew said it’s been a great way to get into theater.

“We had so much fun last time out,” he said.

Since last year’s production, Riley has gone on to be in five more plays in the area.

As for the updated show, Riley said, “you can tell it’s ‘Night of the Living Dead.”

“We’re not doing the same thing again,” Andrew said.

This year’s zombies are more active, aggressive and twitchy, similar to the creatures in “The Last of Us” video game/ television show, cast members said.

Andrew said last year’s shambling zombies was easier to do as he’d come to rehearsals around 7 p.m. after going to work at 4 a.m.

Another new touch this year is a new sound system inside the Main Stage theater, complete with subwoofers.

Rebecca Orozco, lighting and sound technician, said this will be the inaugural show to use the subwoofers that can be felt.

Sound designer David Meissner said last year’s show had music and sounds through the whole show whereas Loveless wanted more simplicity with heartbeats and droning/buzzing this year.

Zombies all make their own noises though, he said.

For more information, see olympictheatrearts.org

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