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Dying for something new

Theatre Artists Olympia offers a “A Well EnTAOed Valentine”

Well EnTAOed Valentine: Along with the food and drinks and raffles will come zombies and cannibals.

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What woman could resist a "A Well EnTAOed Valentine"? Not this one.

But clever name and proximity to Feb. 14 aside, Theater Artists Olympia's Friday-night fundraiser is more likely to make your flesh crawl than tingle.

Along with the food and drinks and raffles will come zombies and cannibals.

The special feature on the macabre menu is a preview of a live yet undead soap opera that TAO hopes to present monthly beginning in the fall.

Tentatively titled Undead Anonymous, the soap will follow the everyday problems of a group of zombies trying to fit into human society.

"The zombies are second-class citizens," says Pug Bujeaud, TAO's artistic director, who came up with the idea. "Some of them are in hiding; some of them are looking for zombie rights; some of them are just trying to find love."

"The idea is that some zombies have maintained their faculties," says Dave Beacham, a TAO board member who'll be part of the cast of the preview. "They don't want to be undead. They want to continue with their lives, or they have these new issues to deal with. We have relationships and jobs, but we also want to eat the people we have relationships with."

And they are dealing with them in a 12-step program for the mortally challenged - "or a 12-shuffle program, as the case may be," Beacham says.

Other entertainment for the evening will include musical numbers from the upcoming Cannibal and, in a nod to zombie-free theater, a version of Abbott and Costello's classic "Who's on First?" performed with a Shakespearean twist by Chris Cantrell and Dennis Rolly.

The master of ceremonies will be Ted McCallister (played by Tim Goebel), a character from TAO's original musical Nite of the Living Dead.

Also on offer will be massages for $1 a minute, an absinthe booth, tarot readings and a dance party with music by DJ Matt Ackerman.

OK, a dance party and massages make sense for Valentine's Day, but wherefore the romance with zombies?

They're not sexy like vampires or studly like werewolves or cute like teenaged wizards. They don't have super powers. And if they're well-endowed, I definitely don't want to know about it.

"I don't know what it is," Beacham says. "It's something that's coming up everywhere with zombie proms and zombie walks. People are just dying for something new, and these days, that seems to be it."

In Undead Anonymous, though, the zombies are dying to be human again. "We're in this group because we want to fit in," Beacham says.

"People will be in different stages of decomposition," he adds. "But we'll look fairly normal. We came up with the idea of makeup for zombies called Gravon. It's makeup zombies can use to make themselves look more human."

And yes, their friends and families might be fooled. Beacham's character is a zombie accountant named Preston.

"He's Jewish and lives with his mother," Beacham says. "His mother doesn't know he's undead. He has issues with guilt, wondering if eating brains is kosher."

Bujeaud is playing Mary Bellflower, who has been court-ordered to attend the zombie support group.

"Anybody else can bring a sack lunch," Bellflower complains. "It's highly unfair that I cannot eat in the cafeteria."

"The ideas just keep flowing," Bujeaud says. "It's so ripe for the picking."

The soap opera doesn't yet have a debut date or a location.

"We're working on building the whole shape of the thing, and then hopefully we will find a venue," Bujeaud says. "One of the joys of setting it in a 12-step program is that we can do it anywhere."

A Well-EnTAOed Valentine

Fundraiser for Theater Artists Olympia
Friday, Feb. 11, 7:30-11:30 p.m., $20 in advance at, Jamie Lee and Co., The Pilates Center of Olympia and from TAO board members, $25 at the door
The Loft on Cherry, 525 Cherry St. SE, Olympia

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Comments for "Dying for something new" (1)

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Stephanie Ennis said on Feb. 11, 2011 at 1:48pm

What a creative piece, everyone! I hope that it goes very well.

If I was in Olympia, I know I'd be there. . . even though I get scurred easily : )

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