Monday, July 28, 2014

Don’t Feed the Plant: Little Shop of Horrors opens with a bang

Something new — Tim Ross, Sarah Seaman and James Bock play floral shop workers who hope that the floral shop’s newest addition, an exotic plant similar to a Venus fly trap, will bolster the floundering shop’s business. Photo credit: Ruth Bibby

A blood thirsty, talking plant, evil dentist and nerdy florist all came together on the Tower Theater stage this past weekend for Little Shop of Horrors.

The show tells the story of Seymour, a poor floral shop worker who discovers and breeds a new plant, similar to a Venus fly trap. However, this plant is not hungry for flies, rather, it craves human blood.

Though different from shows Liberty University has done in the past, the play delivers a strong Christian message. As Seymour begins getting desperate in his attempts to please the plant so that he can hold on to his newfound fame, he begins to do things he would have never imagined. Soon his actions spiral out of control.

“It’s all tongue in cheek and meant to be comedic. But in the end, there is a moral tale to it, told in a very weird and extraterrestrial way,” Director Chris Nelson said. “And the (moral) is, don’t continue to feed the bad habits and sin in your life. And don’t sell yourself to try to get things that are not going to last in the end.”

Nelson acknowledges that the play is unconventional and that some audience members may not like the darker themes or B-movie-esque feel of it, but he hopes that they can still walk away entertained and with an understanding of the greater moral message.

“The best thing we can do is pick stories that we think, as a whole, have something good to say. We realize that some parts of it may step on some toes,” Nelson said. “But at the end of the day, there was something positive being said and we think that’s important. We prepare, we do our best to present the story as a whole and get the message out. We allow the audience to have whatever reaction they have because there is no controlling it anyway, so we just sit back and hope that it’s a positive one.”

Senior Katelyn Outhous was in the audience opening night, Friday, Oct. 28, and said that she was a fan of Liberty’s spin on the play.

“I liked the lightheartedness of it. The story was really unique. I never heard of this before so I thought it was really cool and they did a really good job with presenting it,” Outhous said.

Sophomore Rebekah Kogok and her boyfriend, Sam Ober, were also in the audience opening night and said their favorite part of the play was the cast, which consisted of only eight actors and two puppeteers.

“There’s only (a few) characters in the show but each of them brought such originality to it. It was just as powerful and magnificent as a show of 20 or 30 people,” Kogok said.

“I was really impressed,” Ober said. “The cast did a great job. They brought such life to the show.”

The role of Seymour was played by Tim Ross. It was his first leading role.

“I like how it’s really easy for me to get into this character. I find a lot of myself in him. That’s what makes (Seymour) a really enjoyable character to play because I can just do things that would be me, but bigger,” Ross said.

His love interest, Audrey, was played by senior Sarah Seaman. Seaman is a regular to the Liberty stage and said that playing Audrey was a dream come true.

“I’ve wanted to play Audrey for forever. I’m really excited to bring her to life and bring some of myself to her. It’s such an honor and awesome opportunity,” Seaman said.

Perhaps the true star of the show was Audrey 2, the flesh eating plant. This is the first time the Liberty Theater Department has used puppets as such a major component of a show, and with the help of four different puppets, the plant was able to come to life on stage.

“Having the puppet embody the character and have energy and personality of its own has been a fun opportunity,” Nelson said.

With witty dialogue, fun music and hilarious characters, the play is a quirky story that is unlike any other.

“If you’re looking for a fun night where it’s kind of quirky and funny and for a good opportunity to laugh and have some fun and see a show we’ve never done before, this is a good one to come to,” Nelson said.

Shows continue until Nov. 13 and tickets can be purchased at the Vines Center Box Office. For more information, call 582-7328.

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