“We were never asked to volunteer. It was simply assumed we could be treated as cattle. There are quite a few that have no hope, no families… perhaps their bodies are failing to appoint they have virtually no quality of life remaining. These are willing to volunteer, to donate their living minds and dead bodies to further a cure. In short, General Barkhurst, we ask only that you treat us like the living, thinking beings we are, not the vile, unthinking ghouls you believe us to be.”
Nobody goes to plays anymore. They’re boring, lifeless things only enjoyed by the rich and snobby as a way to pretend that they are better than the rest of us. Seriously, who gives a crap about Shakespeare anymore? Well, Mr. Naysayer in my head, I beg to disagree. Maybe it would change your mind if we threw in some rotting, flesh hungry ghouls and horned minions of darkness in adaptations of stories from one of the premier purveyors of literary horror out there, Necrotic Tissue. By the guy that brought Brian Keene’s soul searing exploration of fiscal depression and a dead boy Jesus, Terminal, to the stage. I got your attention now, don’t I, Sparky?
So, Let’s take a look inside:
“Bloodsuckers” drops us into the yearly birthday ritual of a not so recently deceased benefactor as per the guidelines of his will. To continue to receive their month stipends, the participants must take part in a rather grotesque celebration to show their continued affection for the man. It’s a snappy, cute story that wouldn’t seem out of place in the pages of the late, lost EC comics like Tales from the Crypt or Creepshow.
“How to Make a Brain Soufflé” was one of my favorite entrees from NT #7 and it holds up as the best piece here as a TV cooking show both for and by zombies. It’s funny as hell and makes some pointed satire in the process.
“Tenure”, as quoted from above, is easily the most cerebral play presented. Presented as a discussion of human rights as they relate to the undead, it brings up some interesting questions. Not only does this story bring an interesting twist to the Zombie Genre, but at a time when the distinction of “enemy” has taken on a distinctly murky aspect, it gives us much to think about.
The final play, “With Good Intentions,” takes a vision of hell and makes it infinitely worse, by turning it into the hopeless bureaucracy of a corporate office. Tortures and temptations are reduced to mere numbers, demons drown in paperwork and every drop of innocent blood must be verified and reverified by each of your fifteen supervisors. Kinda makes you pine for the days of burning lakes and sulfur pits.
Without a doubt, these all came from great stories and Booth is a heck of a talent when it comes to adapting material for the stage, but I have some doubts about how fit some of these tales are for visual interpretation. Both “Tenure” and “With Good Intentions”, provocative and amusing as they are, consist almost entirely of two people chatting about an odd situation. Not exactly gripping and not something I feel is enhanced in any way by seeing it. However, “Bloodsuckers” could work quite well as a classic grotesque and I would kill to see “How to…” performed (independent theatre troupes in the Cincinnati area- get to work).
Something like this is a tough decision, as plays are really meant to be seen, not read and all of these stories are available in their originally intended for elsewhere. But, if you are looking for something to really throw off your school’s drama club, you could do a lot worse.
but it here.