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Puppeteers challenged to operate man-eating plant in musical

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Katie Murphy
The plant Audrey II is puppeteered by Zeric Hallford for the play Little Shop of Horrors. The play will be performed in the SHS Auditorium March 8, 9, 10 at 7 p.m.

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“I think that just is going to take a lot of practice to get down. Once we know her lines, then it’ll be easier to move the mouth.””

— Reece Adams, 9

The spring musical of 2018 will be “Little Shop of Horrors.” This show is about a florist, Seymour, who discovers a new breed of plant who he names “Audrey II” after his unrequited love.  This plant promises to bring Seymour fortune if he feeds the plant blood.

Having a giant plant in the cast requires some special skills. Audrey II requires a voice actor, Eva Noble, who will be backstage, and two puppeteers, Zeric Hallford and Reece Adams, who will be onstage to guide the plant. Directing the musical will be a new experience for Mrs. Katie Murphy. “I’ve never worked with it before,” she says. “My high school did this when I was in high school, and my college did it when I was in college, but I worked on other crews, so the only obstacle was I’m just unfamiliar as far as actually working with it.”

The musical will also be a new experience for the students. Eva will face challenges with the voice of Audrey II.

She says, “It’s usually played by an African American male that has a really low, bass voice, and I am a soprano.”

Reece will play Pod One, which is the smaller version of Audrey II that fits one person sitting down behind it. Moving the plant will be a physical challenge.

Reece says, “I think that just is going to take a lot of practice to get down. Once we know her lines, then it’ll be easier to move the mouth.”

Moving the plant will pose as a challenge for Reece, but a greater challenge for Zeric, who is playing Pod Three and Pod Four, when the plant is much larger.

By the time Audrey II reaches Pod Four, it will be big enough to fit a person through its mouth. Zeric will have a stool to sit on and will bend over to control the upper jaw with his arms. He can make the plant laugh by lifting up two handles on the side of it. He expects it to be very hot inside Pod Four. He says it will be “probably kind of like wearing four winter coats.”

Getting a prop for Audrey II does not pose as much of a problem. The school was able to find a plant prop through connections with Shawnee Heights. Mrs. Murphy says, “As far as getting one, we’re really good friends with the director at Shawnee Heights, and he was able to give me a really good contact, so that wasn’t an issue.”

She says, “It’s going to be a really good show, and I just hope a lot of people come because it’s a lot different. It doesn’t have a happy ending. It’s way crazy different than things we’ve been doing in the last few years. We’re really excited to put it on.”

Tickets for the musical will be $8, and it will be playing on March 8,9 and 10 at 7 p.m. in the auditorium.

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Puppeteers challenged to operate man-eating plant in musical