The Maverick Theater in Fullerton, CA, is no stranger to hosting plays that are classic, interactive, and comical. It is the 14th year that “Night of the Living Dead” has overtaken the small playhouse, and it is a no-brainer for spectators to come in full capacity year after year. Once family and friends attend this fun and compelling experience, they usually make it an October tradition. George A. Romero’s 1968 horror film was pivotal in making zombies a staple of horror culture, and this playwright, adapted and directed by Brian Newell, carries on that legacy. The playhouse uses its theatrical tricks to tell their story of the undead, and though the theater is quite small, they use every inch they can (and can’t) to display high-quality entertainment.
The play is timeless for the social statements it speaks to. Racial consciousness and gender ideology are the main reasons that this piece of entertainment has carried over so well into the 21st century. Famously, the protagonist of this movie/play is African American. Modernly, society has made this a norm; however, in 1968, there was not much room for upward mobility in Hollywood for the minority actor. Not only does this staged cinema provide inclusion for a heroic African male figure, but the adapted version also gives a pathway that challenges a woman’s role in Domestic Ideology. Negative stereotypes/ideologies of women have persisted in the Hollywood filmmaking culture. Women are portrayed as damsels in distress. This is represented in Barbra, the co-star of the play who is brilliantly played by Briana Donze. Her character development takes a heroic turn as she is forced to fight for her life. In this process, she has relieved herself of societal expectations of women, and while no longer submissive, she takes to bashing zombies heads in which signifies her emergence to autonomy.
The Maverick Theater will be hosting “Plan 9 From Outer Space” from November 2-16 and “Santa Claus Conquers the Martians” from November 22-December 23rd. For more information, visit their website: https://mavericktheater.com/ & support your local theater arts playhouse!