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Department of Theatre & Dance thrills with 'Slasher'

Lamar University Department of Theatre & Dance’s production of “Slasher” promises to open HalloweenTwo students rehearse Slasher play weekend with a scream. The hilarious play about the filming of a low-budget horror flick premieres Thursday, Oct. 27, in the Studio Theatre, and runs through Oct. 31.

Written by Allison Moore, “Slasher” is set in the Austin area, which was one of the reasons Department of Theatre & Dance Chair Judith Sebesta chose it for her directorial debut at Lamar.

“This play has regional appeal—not only is it set in and around Austin, but the playwright is Austin-based as well,” said Sebesta. “The setting also recalls that of iconic slasher film, ‘The Texas Chainsaw Massacre.’ Like that film, ‘Slasher’ explores themes from the horror genre for social commentary.”

A discussion panel from 6:15 to 7 p.m. in the University Theatre lobby on Friday, Oct. 28, will focus on feminist and religious themes in the play. The panel, moderated by student Bethany Eldred of Beaumont, will include Rebekah Herzberg, a Southeast Texas horror journalist, model and actress, who will discuss her experience as a woman in the horror genre. Julie Wilhelm, assistant professor, and Steve Zani, chair, both from the Department of English and Modern Languages, will discuss feminist theory and religious themes, respectively, in the slasher genre.

Eldred assisted Sebesta with research and development of the play, specifically delving into themes from the slasher genre.

“Allison Moore satirizes not only the tropes of slasher films, but issues plaguing our society as well,” said Eldred. “Female exploitation parading as self sacrifice, hypocrisy of religion, and the further decline of American familial relations are the main issues addressed by the playwright in an expert, comedic way.”

“There are some serious themes in the play,” Sebesta concurs. “But, ultimately, I thought it would be great fun to present ‘Slasher’ on Halloween weekend. It’s not for the squeamish—there’s a lot of blood. But it’s also a great ride for the audience. It’s dark, but funny.”

The Department of Theatre & Dance is promoting a festive, movie-theatre environment for this play about the making of a film. Audience members are encouraged to wear their Halloween costumes to the production. Alpha Psi Omega, the national honorary theatrical society, will sell concessions such as soda and candy before the show starts. The play is also typical movie length, clocking in at 90 minutes with no intermission.

Cast members include Maci McFarlin, Nederland; Evan Weathington, Beaumont; Allison Underhill, Port Arthur; Jason Parker, Jasper; Steven Hoffman, Silsbee; DeeDee Howell, Nederland; Natalie Sell, Spring; Amber Day, Bridge City; Sarah Green, Fort Worth; Amanda VanDorn, Lumberton; Tack Somers, Pleasanton; and a special appearance by theatre faculty member Ron Zank as Pastor Dan.

Performances are 7:30 p.m. Oct. 27 – 29 and 31 and 2 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 30 in the Studio Theatre at 4400 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway. The play is intended for mature audiences over the age of 16. Tickets are $15 for general admission; $10 for senior citizens, students and LU faculty/staff; and $7 for LU students. Call (409) 880-2250 for reservations and additional information.