This archived article was written by: Nathan Pena
The cult-classic Little Shop of Horrors officially opens USU Eastern’s theatre season in the Central Instructional Building’s Blackbox Theater, in a two-week run, starting Oct. 8.
The play, directed and produced by Corey Ewan, said, “we are in the blackbox because of the Geary remodel.We can’t do a big musical, so we need to do something smaller. It seemed that Little Shop was a small enough show that would work well in an intimate setting. We thought if we could play it there, the audience will be closer to the actors, closer to the music and it might be a more enjoyable. It’s kind of an experiment.
“I chose Little Shop because I love Little Shop of Horrors. We did it here in 1985 and I designed the sets and played Seymour Krelborn. That was my first exposure to it. We heard the music and thought it was a funny premise about a man-eating plant like a ‘50’s horror film. We thought it was time to bring it back.”
Auditions for Little Shop of Horrors are complete. During the first week of the semester Ewan said, “We had a good turnout despite being it the first week of school, always more women than men. The play calls for a couple of men, not major roles, but there are characters that have a part of a song or a dialogue and if we can get them to come in and do that, we make them part of the chorus.”
“And it’s really easy for this show because the chorus only has two big numbers: The opening of the show and the end of the show. Sometimes we see them passing by or participating in the background, but it’s really a no-brainer except at the beginning and end, that’s when they add life and a good strong sense of believability as they sing those songs.
“Right now we’re going into blocking,” he says. “It is where we map out the movement of the actors, then we polish where the blocking doesn’t work. We change it to make actors confident and believable. Plus, we find and channel our emotions of the characters and the relationships with each other. Then we go on to the final step, which is called ‘Hell Week.’ It’s when we add costumes, lights, sounds and usually at that point they forget everything they’ve done because now we’re adding all of these elements, it usually takes them a day and they get back into it. They’re very professional. Students have done a great deal of work last year and many worked with us last year from Carbon High, so they are really well trained and prepared to work with us and that is a good thing.”
Ewan is looking forward to directing the play. Picking a particular area in the production of the play is “a tough call.” However, he is excited on working with Donny Owens, who is cast as Seymour Krelborn.
“He is much like Seymour himself,” Ewan says. “He’s meek, sweet, he’s also good-hearted. He’s a little shy and I think that’s going to play quite well.
I think Owens is one of our finest actors and probably one of our best overall students as being a good person and that carries along to playing Seymour. I think that when we see that and he’s playing opposite Heather Bone, we’ll see that relationship.”
“Another thing I’m most excited about are the voices we have for the plant,” he adds. “They are a little hesitant because I told them ‘You’ve got the script, that’s your blueprint, but I want more sound, I want more reaction from the plant like he is an active participant in what’s going on instead of laying around and just waiting.’ I told the man who’s operating the plant that he is the one the voices are going to watch. The voices, Ben Jones and Christian Johnston, are going to have to match what he does physically. So it’s going to be kind of interesting to see what happens with that.”
Little Shop of Horrors is the story of a man who works for a florist on skid row, where everyone is down on his or her luck. Seymour stumbles across a strange plant and thinks it is something that will help the shop. He buys the plant and brings it back to the flower shop to nurse it. It is a very strange plant with magical properties because once they put it on the windows; people start buying flowers from the shop. One night Seymour discovers that the plant survives on blood rather than water. There are circumstances in the play that many people die and we don’t really know whether the plant or Seymour is going to survive.
Ewan advises those that will see the play, “To expect fun, there is no serious message to be found even though the message of the play is ‘be careful what you wish for’ we are not punching that. It’s like going to the movies in the ‘50s and watching a big bug sci-fi. Hopefully they will come just to have a good time. Fun colors, fun costumes, a lot of fun things to look at. We are going to have gala evenings and meet the cast while celebrating the opening of the blackbox.”