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How Living Dead is being brought to life at Liverpool Playhouse

January 26, 2020

Last year they brought Liverpool audiences an audacious multi-media infused version of Joseph Conrad’s tale Heart of Darkness.

Now theatre company imitating the dog is back, and with an even more ambitious production, Night of the Living Dead™- Remix, coming to the Playhouse as part of a new UK tour.

The show, a collaboration with Leeds Playhouse, will recreate the classic 1968 zombie movie shot-for-shot (all 1,076 of them) live on stage in just 95 minutes using only seven actors, cameras, a rail of costumes and a box of props.

The original Night of the Living Dead™ was an apocalyptic vision of paranoia, the breakdown of community and the end of the American dream.

So expect an evening that is, in turn, humorous, terrifying, thrilling, thought-provoking and joyous.

In advance of that, one of the show’s two directors – Andrew Quick – talks about creating the new production and what Liverpool audiences can expect.

 

Why Night of The Living Dead ™?

It’s a film that we’ve been thinking about for some time now, but it always felt out of reach.

We’ve adapted novels in the past, A Farewell to Arms in 2014 and Heart of Darkness in 2018, but film is always in the mix for us. Those two novels were adapted into movies, several times, but they were also modernist pieces of writing and that’s what’s different here.

But Night of The Living Dead ™ is an extraordinary film and it’s a classic in the same ways that Hemingway’s and Conrad’s novels are.  So, there is continuity there. 

 

How are you staging it and why the is Remix in the title?

We’re showing the whole film in the performance and we re-stage it in real time shot for shot as the movie plays; the movie on one screen and our live version on another. 

There are more than 1,000 shots.

 

Is that possible?

We’ll have to make it possible!  Of course, we’ll fail at times, but that will be half the fun of it.  It’s an impossible task.

We hope the energy of our staging connects to the energy of the film; that something in our live rendition of the film will speak to the original and vice versa, that the film will speak to what we are doing.

imitating the dog brought Heart of Darkness to the Playhouse in 2019.

Top: Night of the Living Dead™- Remix rehearsals. Photo Ed Waring

 

 

So, it’s a conversation?

Yes, but a glorious conversation, one that rides on the coattails of the film’s amazing narrative.  The more you engage with the movie the more relevant it seems today amid all the current political turmoil that surrounds us. 

 

Is it fair to say then that this conversation is the ‘remix’?

Yes, in many ways.  It’s re-mixing the live and the filmed, the original and the new.  It’s remixed by our engagement with original, by our wresting with it.

We’re bringing other stuff into the mix as well; documentary footage from the 60s, TV adverts, that kind of thing. History is in the mix here, like it is with a lot of our work.

Simon Wainwright, who is a co-director of the company, has been making some great video material for the projection in the piece. So that’s mixed in as well.

 

Do the audience need to have seen the film?

No, I don’t think so.  If they haven’t seen the film, they’ll still recognise the story - people holed up in a house, trying to survive being attacked by a horde of the living dead, not pulling together, the lone survivor who is mistakenly and tragically killed at the end.

It’s great stuff. But we kind of already know it. And that’s why we enjoy it so much.

 

Night of the Living Dead™- Remix is at the Liverpool Playhouse from February 18-22. Tickets HERE

 

 

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