The Maverick Theater’s annual production of Night of the Living Dead is still happening this year– with a 2020 twist.
The Fullerton based theater has taken George Romero’s classic 1968 horror film to the stage for 15 years consecutively. This year, their team has redesigned the production to accommodate the state of the word during the ongoing pandemic. The show will run from October 16th-31st.
“In previous years, it was always done in The Maverick Theater. This year it’s going to be done outside the Maverick Theater in a warehouse that’s nearby. We’re going to be using the outside grounds of the warehouse and some of the warehouse for the retelling of the story,” stated The Maverick Theater founder and creative director, Brian Newell.
The idea for the 2020 production of Night of the Living Dead was to ensure audience, performer, and staff safety while continuing to deliver an engaging show.
This performance is considered to be an immersive experience. Immersive theater removes the stage and incorporates audience interaction with their surroundings as well as performers.
In addition to taking the production to different locations, the maximum occupancy per performance is limited to six audience members who are labeled as the “search and rescue” team. The goal is to “save” as many people from the zombies as possible.
“The audience follows the actors along and listens to them to tell the story. The interaction is that the actors are talking to them as if they’re in the room with them. So it’s breaking the fourth wall in that sense,” continued Newell.
This non-traditional performance is new to the theater in many ways, but it’s not completely new to the Maverick’s typical production of Night of the Living Dead.
“The show would normally take people through The Maverick Theater and have some audience participation, but this year’s does that in a bigger way,” stated Alex Gomez, who plays Zombie #3 in the production.
The theater has taken necessary precautions to protect all who participate in the show. All current county and state CDC guidelines are being followed to do so. This includes the basic guidelines for social distancing.
The ticket price of $45 provides each audience member with entry to the show and disposable protective gear including a mask, a face shield, gloves, and a poncho.
“They (the audience) will be very protected from exposure and it also allows us to spray some (stage) blood on them at certain times too,” Brian Newell teased.
Because the show is immersive, all audience members must sign a guest waiver to be able to participate.