Tuesday, June 16, 2009

High School Science and Buck Rogers

Zombies from the Beyond
by Roger Smith

The publicity says that “Zombies from the Beyond” is based on early, low budget Science Fiction movies of the 1950’s. I remember the Buck Rogers serials that appeared on the silver screen every Saturday at the Margie Grand Theater in my hometown of Harlan, Kentucky. I remember my 9th grade science teacher, Miss Parker, chiding us ‘not to laugh’ at those serials because someday man would go to the moon. Of course, we didn’t believe that anyone could ride one of those tin bucket rockets to outer space. Based on what I saw at the Ashtabula Arts Center, I still don’t believe it.
Unless readers understand Buck Rogers and ‘tin bucket rocket’ and ‘serials’ in movie theaters, they aren’t going to understand the theatrical attempt at reviving and poking fun at those early black and whites.
The low budget aspect of those early movies is duplicated in spades on the stage of the Arts Center. The show is written to be farcical and hokey beyond belief and at times, that happens; and even though there are some merry moments that bring guffaws, it still falls short of the intent.
It’s evident that lots of hard work went into this production, and many hours have been spent in rehearsal. I would venture a guess that the cast had lots of fun in mounting this show. But it just doesn’t work. Sometimes, even when all the ingredients are measured correctly and the baking temperature is just right, the finished product just doesn’t match the description given in the recipe.
“Zombies from the Beyond” runs weekends through October 18 at the Ashtabula Arts Center. Dinner will be available prior to the show on Oct. 11. Reservations and pre-payment are required for all dinners and can be made by calling the Arts Center. Cost of dinner is $16 plus the price of theater ticket. The box office phone number is 964-3396.

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