Thursday, November 11, 2004
What: Little Shop of Horrors When: 7 p.m. Nov. 18, 19 and 20 with a 2 p.m. matinee Nov. 20 Where: Steamboat Springs High School Auditorium Tickets: $10 at the door Call: 879-1562
If you're like most people, you know the story of "Little Shop of Horrors." At least, you did at one time.
You vaguely remember a large mouthy plant and a guy named Seymour.
"Little Shop of Horrors" is a forgotten classic.
What is the name of the plant?
What does the plant like to eat?
What is the moral of this story?
If you said, "Audrey II," human blood and "Don't feed the plant" or "Greed kills" then read no further. There is no need for you to attend the Steamboat Springs High School production opening Thursday, and
there's no need to be reminded of the appeal of this campy, B-horror-movie-style musical.
If you didn't pass the quiz, then tickets are $10 at the door.
"Little Shop of Horrors" came out as a film in the 1960s. It was shot in two days by director Roger Corman. The musical stage version was written in 1982 by Howard Ashman and Alan Menken and released as a film again in 1986.
The musical opens in a rough part of town called Skid Row where a nerdy florist named Seymour (played by Keaton Covillo) is living out his life.
During a total eclipse of the sun, Seymour comes across a strange plant that he names Audrey II after his secret crush (played by Lydia Kindred). One problem: The plant thrives on human blood and before the curtain closes, every one of the lead characters is plant food.
The story is carried along with an 11-member Doo Wop musical backup.
"There are two ways to do theater," said SSHS drama instructor Stuart Handloff. "You can tackle David Mamet characters that have lots of layers or you can create characters like the ones in 'Little Shop of Horrors.'
"These characters are simple. Their emotions are close to the surface. Seymour is greedy and ambitious. Audrey has low self-esteem. She's the classic abused child. We know these things right away."
The more difficult character development came with the creation of Audrey II.
It took two people to turn the large foam and Lycra puppet into the show's lead character. Bethany Pugh is the voice of Audrey II, and Justin Hammel is the puppeteer -- both for Audrey II and her evil cuttings.
The voice of the plant in the Broadway productions is a deep bass, but the voice in the SSHS production is feminine.
"Instead of abusing Seymour into obedience, (Audrey II) seduces him into obedience by being sweet and agreeable," Handloff said.
The puppet used for Audrey II was a rental from the Puppet Palace in Denver. During rehearsals, Handloff kept it under a black cloth so it would remain a surprise to the audience.
Once the puppet's character and manipulation had been developed, the crew had to turn to a more difficult task -- the construction of a complicated set.
Scenes take place inside the plant shop and on the street, accomplished with walls that have to be manually pulled apart and closed to create the effect.
The set was designed by Handloff and the students of the SSHS technical theatre class and built with the help of local contractor Tom Stockdale, the father of cast member Emily Stockdale.