DALLAS — Thankfully August’s total solar eclipse didn’t bring us anything like Audrey II.
New York City “Skid Row” neighborhood residents aren’t as lucky.
What: Dallas High School presents the musical “Little Shop of Horrors.”
When: Wednesday (today) through Saturday at 7 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m.
Where: Bollman Auditorium, 1250 SE Holman Ave., Dallas.
Admission: Tickets are $6 at the door or online for $5 at: https://goo.gl/kH...">https://goo.gl/kH....
Audrey II, a wholly different kind of Venus fly trap plant, arrives during a full solar eclipse. Shy and nerdy Seymour Krelborn, an employee at Mushnick’s Skid Row Florist, discovers the mysterious plant. Soon, he finds the grim truth about what the plant needs to grow: Blood, preferably human.
Dallas High School stages “Little Shop of Horrors” and its timely themes starting Wednesday (today) through Sunday.
The show kicks off Dallas High School theater’s100th season, which director Blair Cromwell decided to begin a few weeks early this year to bring the creepy musical to audiences before Halloween.
Cromwell said the timing with the eclipse in August made putting on the show too much to resist.
“I thought, wouldn’t that be fun?” Cromwell said.
Dylan Bauman, who plays Seymour, said the musical is fun — and like nothing he’s ever starred in before.
“I’m interacting with a plant through the entire story. I’m singing to a plant and at first, it’s something that’s kind of weird to do,” he said. “You talk to a person, or you talk to an audience, but this time you are talking to a puppet. In that sense it’s been a new experience, so in that sense it’s a cool thing that we got to do.”
Making the plant’s interactions seem real is the responsibility of three cast members: Alex Fawcett and Isaac Monroe, the puppeteers who orchestrate Audrey II’s movements — and, uh, meals — and Grant Burton, who provides the plant’s booming voice.
Timing and chemistry, especially between Burton and Fawcett, is key to making Audrey II come to life.
“Just watching Alex, I know when to speed up and slow down based on his capacity for movement,” Burton said.
Fawcett, who can’t see Burton, said timing was difficult at first.
“It gets easier the more you run it,” said Fawcett, who works with both Audrey II puppets, “It’s fun and it’s a work out.”
Monroe helps with the larger Audrey II puppet that dominates the florist shop set. His role is smaller, but it’s just as essential.
“When people come through, I help them get eaten,” he said, meaning he helps pull them through the plant’s mouth.
Audrey II doesn’t start with whole humans. The clever plant builds up, encouraging Seymour to give it blood. Once he starts feeding it, it grows and begins to grant hapless Seymour’s wishes.
The cast likens the story to a modern-day Doctor Faustus, a story about a magician and alchemist who sold his soul to the devil. In Little Shop, Audrey II gifts Seymour the love of the plant’s namesake, Audrey, a fellow florist employee he’s long had feelings for.
“It goes from a situation that it’s an innocent plant that he’s feeding it a little bit of blood here and there and it’s bringing him all this fortune,” Bauman said. “All of sudden it starts speaking. (Seymour) is scared because a giant plant with teeth is talking to him and telling him to feed people to it.”
Seymour resists — at first — but soon he finds a suitable first victim. After that Audrey II becomes insatiable and an even more sinister plot is revealed.
“It brings him all the fortune in the world … but it comes at a great cost,” Bauman said.