On The Fringe #6
Written by Denyse Terry
Play: Bridezilla vs. the Apocalypse
Company: BrainDeadPan Productions
Details: Written by: Aaron Middlemiss. Directed by: Steff Bishop Lampman
Location: Citadel Studio Theatre
Show Times: Thurs. July 18, 9:30pm; Sat. July 20, 1:00pm; Sun. July 21, 8:00pm; Tues. July 23, 6:30pm; Wed. July 24, 9:30pm; Sat. July 27, 8:00pm; Sun. July 28, 1:00pm
I wasn’t sure what to expect when I set off to meet the folks behind Bridezilla vs. the Apocalyyse. I have never, ever, met a zombie before. That day I was tired – and a little frazzled. I was late – thanks bus! I had grabbed the wrong notebook (red! because zombies!). It was just one of those days. Whatever I was expecting – what hit me, when I first walked in, was a massive air-wave of camaraderie. A most friendly and hospitable bunch: these folks are having a good time making theatre.
Writer Aaron Middlemiss and director Steff Bishop Lampman have collaborated on a dozen shows in the last 15 years. A horror aficionado since childhood, Middlemiss got the idea of marrying a wedding day to a zombie apocalypse after proposing to his own wife. Thankfully she has a sense of humour too. Bridezilla vs. the Apocalypse premiered at Blackbox Fire’s Emerging Artists Series last summer. For the Fringe production there are more characters, more zombies, and, “We’ve definitely ramped it up. There’s quite a few technical changes.” Technical? He smiles slowly, “The blood and guts.”
Truly a part of the fun, and the culture, the first two rows of the studio will most likely be designated a ‘splatter zone’. They have a pit crew for cleaning in between shows. A pit crew. Has anyone ever thrown up or fainted? Middlemiss deadpans, “No. And I feel like we failed.”
One of his favourite stories is of him making intestines in the kitchen sink. He was a little worried when his bride walked in and said, “What are you doing?”
“I’m making guts”, was really the only possible reply.
Over rising laughter, Middlemiss explains zombie culture further, “Zombies have always been the archetype for ‘the other’ and how we view ourselves against it. They are like the original 99%.” Also intrigued by themes of self-identity, and exploring which ‘side’ ultimately supersedes the other, even he was surprised at how graphic his writing got. Going over scenes with Bishop Lampman he says, “We were killing ourselves laughing.”
Bishop Lampman likes that the characters are multidimensional. “I also like that there’s a strong woman in the play who is confident with her sexuality. She owns who she is, even though she is still figuring it out.” Local support has been fantastic, she adds, with Copydog, Sweet Ice Snow Cones, Jack & Lois’s Diner, Killer Cupcakes Goremet! and the Baltimore House helping out on their recent fundraiser – where many dressed the part – and none more willingly than John Migliore, Hamilton’s resident celebrity zombie.
At 1am, on his way home, Migliore was driving up the mountain when he got stopped by the R.I.D.E. program. The officer takes one look at him and says, “What the hell is this?” Migliore tried to explain his zombie situation. The cops says, “Okay I want you to drive up to the next officer, she needs to see this.” He drives up to the next officer who takes one look and says, “What the hell is this?”
Migliore continues, “When they called six other officers over and they were all standing outside the car with their flashlights in the window…that’s when I knew it was going to be ok.” Making his stage debut, Migliore has been in 25 zombie related movies.
Also hooked on horror, ex roller derby player Laura Ellis is Liv, the show’s wedding planner. Her character is, “Just this awkward person, trying to get through life, who has this weird skill set. She’s strong, and kind, and kinda weird. I like that. I get it.”
Tyler Brent, a university trained Combat Choreographer, plays a couple roles but says his most serious is to keep everyone safe. Brent regularly takes his workshops to high schools and other theatre companies. You can catch him and Ellis together for a workshop at Open Streets, on Sunday June 23.
Iain Lacourt plays the groom, who is, “…pretty much on the verge of wetting his pants at any moment.” Lila Hunt is succinct about her role, “I am the quintessential princess-bride-to-be bitch.” Quips Ellis: “She scares people more than any zombies in makeup.”
Call it a Horror-slash-comedy or a zomromcom, the entire cast includes: Laura Ellis, Iain Lacourt, Lila Hunt, Kristi Boulton, Matt Moore, Erik Canaria, Margaret Lintott, Tyler Brent, Andrew Noble, John Migliore, Marty Chenette, Steven Fotheringham, Bryan Fotheringham, Meaghan O’Connor, Katlyn Alcock.
Middlemiss says he loves working with director Bishop Lampman. “And we love the input that we get from everyone involved in the show. It’s a real ensemble mentality…to see everybody contributing – to me is what gives the show its life.”
Win two tickets to Bridezilla vs. the Apocalypse. Where The Heck? in Hamilton, was this picture taken? Send your guess and contact information to firstname.lastname@example.org **Congratulations to our winner Stephanie H. for correctly guessing
McMaster University (Main Campus 1280 Main St West) – The Class of 1954 Oasis Garden. Stephanie wins two tickets to Bridezilla vs. the Apocalypse!
On The Fringe is written by Denyse Terry
Denyse is a local freelance writer.
A Fringe volunteer for the past 5 years, she has served as a member of the Board of Directors since 2011.
Her short story ‘Boom’ has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize: