by Rebecca Potts
Picture this: A small town high school in the 1950s, filled with typical daily routines, quirky students, and a few love stories. Oh, and at least one zombie. If it’s a little hard to dream up on your own, let Selma Arts Center do it for you.
Zombie Prom is the story of a teenage boy who is saved from his untimely death by the love of his high school sweetheart, who is facing the prospect of going to Prom alone this year. Which is obviously the scariest part of the story.
I sat down with SACTeen Director Adrian Oceguera to learn more about the behind-the-scenes process of putting together the show for Selma’s talented teens.
KRL: Why did you choose Zombie Prom as your show?
Adrian: Choosing a show is always a difficult process. I wanted something fun and energetic – that’s always what I look for when working with kids so that they can have fun doing it. Zombie Prom was recommended to me by one of my fellow counsel members Adam, and I had never even heard of the show. That spun the wheels. I did some research, and I learned it was a really cool show and I loved the soundtrack, so we decided to move forward with it!
KRL: Without giving anything away, can you tell us a little bit about the show?
Adrian: There’s a lot of different aspects to it…obviously there’s at least one or more zombies. A lot of different themes – love, teenage years, doing things your parents don’t want you to, having to follow the rules and when it’s good and not so good to do that. I think the best synopsis is teen love with the afterlife.
KRL: What excites you the most about the show?
Adrian: Honestly, it’s the people I get to work with. I don’t want to make a sweeping generalization, but a lot of people are reluctant to work with teenagers and I really embrace it. They’re super excited about getting onstage and working with them is my favorite part of the show. I also have an awesome staff that I get to work with to bring everything to life and that’s really rewarding as well.
KRL: Is Zombie Prom typically performed by teens?
Adrian: I’ve seen productions of high schools doing it all the way up to strictly adult productions. Some companies might say there’s some edgy language, some, what might be considered, adult content. We’ve definitely stretched the teens before, so even though it’s not typically done with teens, I wanted to do something different for them. I do have a lot of adults come up to me now and say, “Why are you doing it with the kids? I’ve wanted to do that show for so long!” So, it’s really a show for everyone.
KRL: Have you directed before, and if so, can you tell us some of the shows you’ve directed?
Adrian: This is going to be my fourth directorial venture! Way back when, before we even had a SAC Teen Program, we did a production of 13 the Musical, and that was an exclusively teen cast. I had just started getting into acting myself, and I jumped in feet first wanting to direct something, so that was my directorial debut, and I loved it. I had a lot of guidance during that show and learned a lot, and I thought, we need to make this an official thing. So, I convinced the council members to create a teen program! We had an adult program; we had a kids’ program…we really needed something in between because kids tend to lose interest in high school. Other things are competing for their attention, so I understand that, but I wanted to give them something cool and challenging that would help ease that transition from junior productions into adult productions
KRL: So you’re kind of responsible for the idea of SAC Teen?
Adrian: It was my idea, but I’ve had so much support and help along the way. It would not be what it is today without everyone on the council supporting it.
KRL: What’s your favorite thing about directing?
Adrian: Being in charge and getting to yell at people! …Just kidding. There’s a lot of things to like about directing, and there’s a lot of things to not like about directing (stress, pressure, budget, having to worry about everything), but at the end of the day, being able to take your idea, put your heart into it, and give it to the actors to watch them make it their own makes it really worthwhile. I do have a co-director with me, R.L. Preheim, and he jumped on because we recently did Beauty and the Beast together, and I loved his ideas, so it’s going to be our vision to give to the actors.
So, there you have it. If you’re looking for a fantastical, hilarious story about teen romance with a deadly twist, Zombie Prom is the perfect remedy. The show runs January 10–January 18 at the Selma Arts Center, 1935 High Street in Selma, CA, so don’t miss it! There’s more coming up this year for SAC Teen, so keep your eyes open for some other productions in the works. Visit Selma Arts Center website to learn more about the show and Selma’s 2020 season, or click HERE to purchase tickets directly for Zombie Prom. We know you’re dying to see it!
Check out even more local theatre reviews & articles in our Arts & Entertainment section!
If you love local theatre, be sure to check out our new Mysteryrat’s Maze Podcast, which features mysteries read by local actors (some of whom you have seen on the Selma Arts Center stage). You can check the podcast out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Google Play, and also on podbean.