Night of the Living Dead Live
Night of the Living Dead Live is a fun and hilarious re-imagining of George A. Romero’s legendary classic. Set in 1968 and presented in all black and white, it literally feels like the film has been brought to life and placed on stage. The play lovingly examines the movie itself, the period in which it was made, and the film’s undying influence on the horror genre.
Night of the Living Dead was produced at a time of incredible social and political upheaval. The Vietnam war; the civil rights movement; the collapse of the patriarchal, nuclear family; and growing mistrust of the government and media are just some of the themes that influenced both the filmmakers and their audience. The film itself was met with controversy for featuring an African American protagonist and realistic horror images; both ground breaking attributes for the time period. The gritty, black and white cinematography made the action seem more like television news footage than a Saturday matinee horror film. This made the images that much more “real” and frightening to an unsuspecting audience.
And yet, possibly the most controversial element to The Night Of The Living Dead was the ending… Everybody dies! Even the hero doesn’t survive. That was unheard of for any movie at that time, and made the movie unpalatable to some and innovative and inspired to others. Even though it featured images of racial violence, cannibalism, and social anarchy, it was the grim, unhappy ending that stuck with people. It is a hallmark that has carried through the genre until today. No guaranteed survivors!
Night Of The Living Dead Live is a theatrical tribute to all of the elements that make this cinematic masterpiece so endearing. More than just a recreation of the story, the play celebrates the history and influence of the movie. Done through a series of multiple endings, the characters are all faced with different issues and challenges desperately trying to survive the night. However, their contrasting personalities and agendas always seem to affect the group from working together which leaves us all wondering could anyone survive a Night of the Living Dead?