Zombies 101: Lifesaving Tips Abound in Theater Asylum’s ‘How to Survive a Zombie Apocaplypse’

by Raquel Sanchez
Staff Writer

By now everybody should know how to ‘kill’ a zombie. For those  unfamiliar with the “The Walking Dead” by Frank Darabont, “Night of the Living Dead” or anything by renowned documentarian George Romero, it’s a simple matter of effectively destroying the brain. How you do it is up to you, just know that a sponge is not an adequate weapon. Always destroy the brain and avoid getting bitten in the process. These are just a few of the helpful tips presented in the School of Survival (SOS),  a comprehensive seminar on surviving the coming zombie apocalypse.  The esteemed Dr. Bobert Dougash and his colleagues, Kirsta Kanbert, Ronald Jarfist and Brayden Manxpipe follow the guidelines set forth by Dr. Dale Seslick, author Dr. Dale’s Zombie Dictionary: The A-Z Guide to Staying Alive . SOS answers your most pressing questions: Is there a cure? Can my dog become a zombie? What does it take to survive the zombie apocalypse? If I had to choose between a predator, two popes, a pirate and a vampire, who would help me survive?

Such was the tone of  Theatre Asylum’s How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse.  Set up as an informational seminar, it was more than a scripted play, as audience participation proved key to the flow of the show.

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Jayne Entwistle and Patrick Bristow in “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse – US Version”

Set in a small black box theatre on Santa Monica Boulevard, Theatre Asylum’s production of How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse combines three of my favorite theatrical elements, improvisation, audience participation and ZOMBIES! I was thrilled and trepidatious as I received my name tag in the box-office. What will they ask me to do? Will I have to go on stage? Will this be like Whose Line is it Anyway? I wasn’t sure what to expect but I was willing to take it on and enjoy the journey. The journey was entertaining.

We were asked questions about our survival skills and how we would fare in the zombie apocalypse. I of course felt I knew enough to survive, but later died after answering that a predator would help me survive a lot better than a vampire. I didn’t consider the fact that vampires can’t become zombies as they are already dead.

I am always impressed by the talent and skill it takes to do improv comedy.  Improv actors take a random suggestion, (e.g. your dog becomes infected with the zombie virus) and within seconds create a scene that has a beginning, middle and end: this is where magic exists. There are five basic rules:

1) Don’t deny

2) Don’t ask open-ended questions

3) You don’t have to be funny

4) You look good if you make your partner look good

5) Tell a story

It’s not an easy feat. As an actor you can’t be in your head. You need to be ready to think and act fast. Director Patrick Bristow leads a team of talented improvisational actors who are quick to pick-up whatever the audience throws at them. Actors Jayne Entwistle, Chris Sheets, Mario Vernazza and Henry Watkins were quick-witted, taking whatever the audience threw at them and never breaking character. They were having fun on stage and in turn I had fun watching them. The actors successfully elicited laughs, groans and fits of giggles from the audience. Some audience members appeared to be repeat attendees and helped keep the show rolling.

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Mario Vernazza, Jayne Entwistle and Chris Sheets in “How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse – US Version”

Shows like How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse  feed off of the audience’s mood like zombies feed on brains.  So if you have been living under a rock and have missed the influx of zombpocalypse preparedness information, answers to your brain-burning questions and some minor combat techniques are covered by After Dark Entertainment at Theater Asylum through February 24, 2013. I am keen to see it again, if only to ensure my survival in the coming apocalypse.

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How to Survive a Zombie Apocalypse (U.S. Version)

Written & Created by Ben Muir, Jess Napthine, David Ash,
Lee Cooper / After Dark Entertainment

Directed by Patrick Bristow

October 31, 2012-February 24, 2013

Theater Asylum
6320 Santa Monica Blvd.
Hollywood, CA. 90038

Tickets are $15. Students and Seniors are $10.

Appropriate for all ages. (800)838-3006.

For additional show information and tickets: HowtoSurviveAZombieApocalypse.com  or Theatre Asylum.

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