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Studio 58 grad’s Zombie Syndrome brings the living dead to Vancouver

The back alleys of Gastown have been overrun by zombies! (Photo submitted by Zombie Syndrome)
Zombie Syndrome actors go the extra mile to ensure undead authenticity (Photo courtesy of  Zombie Syndrome)

Reported by Mel Edgar

Imagine: Downtown Vancouver at night. You rush down the street and duck into an alley. The smells of garbage, urine and decay fill the air — the zombie hunt is on!

On Death’s Door: Plague of the Zombie Syndrome is an interactive play, that calls on its audiences to use their smart phones, and their wits, to keep a zombie apocalypse from overtaking Vancouver.

The play running every week from Tuesday to Sunday until Nov. 2, was spawned, written, directed and produced by Studio 58 graduate Andy Thompson, and takes the audience to several top secret venues across downtown Vancouver. According to Thompson the urban smells of Vancouver’s streets are part of the inspiration behind this zombie experience.

“This has been a really interesting opportunity to explore,” said Thompson. “In a zombie apocalypse, it stinks. If you’re a zombie fan and you watched TV, you are not smelling the smells of the apocalypse.”

The reality of the apocalypse

Experiencing the zombie apocalypse can sometimes get more real than the audience expects.

“I’ve kicked some human poop in that alley,” said Thompson.

This is a reminder that, although Vancouver’s streets are the backdrop for this zombie experience, real people live there.

Thompson said he is aware of the tension.

“It’s kind of intense because of the content of the show,” said Thompson. “The actual geographical nature of the alley is at a crossroads of gentrification and a lot of challenges.”

These challenges are why Thompson said he plays a security guard to escort audiences through the alley.

Because the show takes place outside, and not in a traditional theatre space, the logistics of Thompson’s zombie adventure are immense, and Thompson partners with at least seven different groups.

Participants must sign a detailed waiver prior to the show, and parents are advised against letting children under the age of 17 watch unattended.

Warning: This trailer contains some graphic content and disturbing imagery. Viewer discretion is advised.

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