Blood and politics

By Dana Casadei

Trio of upcoming shows perfect for the season

The month of horror is almost here. Ravenous, blood-sucking creatures are crawling out of the woodwork for your soul … and your vote. Oh yeah, and Halloween is coming too. Every four years, politicians and pundits go head-to-head with zombies and vampires for your attention, and this October is shaping up to be a doozie. Usually confined to movie theaters, newspapers and websites, the attacks, both verbal and physical, will soon be coming to a stage near you.

First up there’s Williamson Theatre’s opening show of the season, “boom,” which may not be gory or demonic but has a lot to say about some topics making headlines, with a few being more related to political issues than others.

When asked about the “quirky, science fictiony” play, director Tony Caselli said it absolutely related to climate change, a topic that is constantly being discussed during this election.

“Underneath all of this funny and heartfelt stuff are some serious topics,” Caselli said.

Those topics include climate change, creationism vs. evolution, having a strong spirit of hope (something every politician needs), and the end of the world. Heavy stuff.

“Part of the appeal for me was to do a play that dealt with all of the current ‘it’s 2012, the world’s going to end’ (mentality), but that didn’t have anything to do with the Mayans,” Caselli said.

Meanwhile, Lansing Community College’s production of “Slasher,” a dark comedy about a “last girl” cast in a slasher film, doesn’t directly relate to politics, unless you really search, but does bring a lot of blood and scary stuff to the stage — things that could happen during a presidential debate.

“It sounds horrific and gory,” said director John Lepard. “There is a lot of blood and some special effects and things. It flows like a movie.”

Don’t worry — he’s talking about the plot, not the blood.

Lepard says that the show makes fun “of the whole idea of making these films in the first place.” Namely, those with terrible acting and cinematography but lots of sex and violence — the ones you won’t willingly admit you watch every year but enjoy nonetheless.

Then there’s one show that will tie both politics and gore together, but not in the ways one may think.

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson,” which opens Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.´s 10th season, may sound like a horror movie akin to a recent presidential vampire movie, but director Chad Badgero says the political emo rock musical’s title relates more to the treatment of Native Americans by Andrew Jackson, whose life the show follows.

“I was less thinking about the bloody aspects of the show when I picked it and more about placing it so close to an election,” Badgero said.

Badgero hopes the show will drum up discussion among audience members on the political system.

“It raises a lot of questions for the audience about why we make the decisions we do when electing political leaders,” Badgero said. “Whether it’s because they’re well qualified or if we’re just bowled over by their charisma, confidence and self-control.”

The scary thing is, he could just as easily be talking about Hannibal Lecter.

“Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson”
Peppermint Creek Theatre Co.
Oct. 4-13
8 p.m. Thursday- Saturday, 2 p.m. Sunday
Miller Performing Arts Center, 6025 Curry Lane, Lansing
$17 adults/$12 students and seniors
(517) 927-3016

Lansing Community College Theatre
Oct. 5-13
8 p.m. Friday & Saturday
LCC Black Box Theatre, Room 168 Gannon Bldg.
$10 adults/$5 students, seniors, LCC alumni
(517) 372-0945

Williamston Theatre
Sept. 27-Oct. 21
8 p.m. Thursday-Saturday, 3 p.m. Saturday, 2 p.m Sunday
Auditorium Arena Theatre, East Lansing
$20 Thursdays/$25 Saturdays-Sundays/$22 matinees/$10 students/seniors $2 discount
(517) 655-7469