The School Zone Productions are putting off a stage adaptation of The Twilight Zone at the Barbara Barrett Theatre in the Arts and Culture Centre, the show runs from October 31st to November 4th.
The School Zone is bringing three episodes of the cult classic The Twilight Zone to the stage this Halloween.This is the fifth year in a row the company has produced a variation of their Twilight Zone show around the end of October. Each year local teacher, writer, and comedian Christopher Tobin adapts new episodes of the television show to be staged by a fresh cast.
“It’s always a different show; some years there are comedic episodes, some years there are poignant episodes, I’d like to think that every year there’s something thought provoking,” said director Fabian O’Keefe.
Each year the production company chooses three episodes with a thematic link. This year’s theme? Different types of fear. This extra-creepy iteration of the show will include adapted versions of episodes; “The Jeopardy Room,” “Mr. Denton on Doomsday,” and “The Monsters Are Due on Maple Street.”
“The first story is a ghost story that occurs aboard a naval destroyer, the second story is a cautionary tale about friends and family and nuclear threats (so a little bit timely) and the third story is about isolation and paranoia,” O’Keefe explained.
While a number of writers worked on the original Twilight Zone series, The School Zone Productions is limiting themselves to the more than 90 episodes written by the show’s creator and host Rod Serling.
“These are morality plays that talk about the best and the worst of human nature,” O’Keefe said. “Serling wrote in a way that allowed him to use science fiction, fantasy, and horror to talk about humanity though the lens of early ‘60s culture.”
The first episode of The Twilight Zone aired more than 60 years ago, but something about the timelessness of the themes it explores, or the fun of trying to predict the inevitable twist endings, has made the show last.
“The theme music is iconic, I think everybody knows the music even if they don’t know the show. Everybody knows the expression,” O’Keefe said. “These stories have been around so long, many us have seen them on TV late at night … it’s challenging to find stories that can be retold again and again like that.”
O’Keefe was reluctant to say The School Zone’s annual Twilight Zone production has developed its own cult following. However, he admitted that there are audience members who find their way through the underbuilding of the Arts and Culture Centre to the [definitely haunted] basement theatre to catch the show each year.
“I know we’ve got a few people who come every year who love the TV Show and come because of nostalgia, but I’d like to think they stay because the work is at times inspiring and always entertaining,” O’Keefe said.
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