Theatrefolk - The Drama Teacher Resource Company

Theatrefolk Featured Play – Santa’s Zombie Apocalypse by Bradley Walton

Welcome to our Featured Play Spotlight.  Does anything say ‘Christmas’ more than Santa… and zombies? We don’t think so! Our newest holiday play, Santa’s Zombie Apocalypse by Bradley Walton is ideal for middle school and high school performers and will definitely give everyone a holiday experience they won’t forget.

When Santa is trapped by zombies (who have somehow gotten into the North Pole toy shop) two reindeer fawns are determined to save the day. But as they make their way through the toy shop encountering wayward zombies and stranded elves, they learn that saving the day is not as easy as it sounds. And it’s certainly not like any video game they’ve ever played. And why is that zombie eating a doll’s head?

Optional multimedia elements turn this play into a live-action video game. The script also includes suggestions for multilingual performers and gender-neutral casting.

Why did we publish this play?
This play is an absolute delight. It’s perfect for the holidays, especially if you want something a little less saccharine and a lot more zombies. Don’t you want to see a zombie say ‘All I want for Christmas is braaaaaains…..?' Add to that a completely gender neutral cast, great costume opportunities and best of all – tech options for your digital savvy students. I could go on and on but you’d be better off reading the play yourself!

Let’s hear from the author!

1. Why did you write this play?
I’d had the title kicking around in my head for years, but never had a reason to write a play to go with it. Then the annual spring play that I direct for my school got moved to December, and suddenly I had a very compelling reason. The problem was, I’d only had four students audition the previous spring. I was hoping for more this time around, but I figured I needed to plan for a cast of four, just in case.

So how do you do a play called “Santa’s Zombie Apocalypse” with 4 people? I hit on the idea of a reindeer fighting its way through the toy shop, one room at a time, to rescue Santa from zombie. In each room, the reindeer fights a zombies and rescues or interacts with an elf or one other character. One person could play all of the zombies, one person could play the reindeer, and one person could play all of the other parts, so I could get by with a cast of 3 if I really had to.

Conceptually, it sounded a lot like a video game, and there’s how the video game elements in this play originated. Likewise, the video phone bits came about as a way for characters in different parts of the toy shop to talk to each other if they were all being played by the same person. Of course, when we had auditions, I had way more than 4 people try out, and the script evolved from there.

2. Describe the theme in one or two sentences.
Don’t assume the person that you’re following knows what they’re doing, and don’t be afraid to ask questions.

3. What’s the most important visual for you in this play?
The zombies, because this is a family-friendly show and they need to look like zombies without being overly gory or frightening to children in the audience. For our production, my wife concocted a scheme of neon green makeup with red, white, and purple accents, and that worked great. Having the zombies dressed in Christmas outfits added to the effect.

4. If you could give one piece of advice for those producing the play, what would it be?
I’m not gonna lie: All of the optional technical elements for this play–the video game stuff, the captions, the video phone bits–are a lot of work, but they’re TOTALLY worth it in the end. Try to include as many of them as you can. The payoff is huge.

5. Why is this play great for student performers?
This is great for schools with a lot of diversity in their student bodies because the elves can all speak different languages. It’s great for schools with less diverse student populations because the elves can also all speak English. There’s a lot of flexibility in casting. It has fun, manageable roles for novice performers, and meaty leads with big arcs and emotional complexity. Plus, it’s called “Santa’s Zombie Apocalypse“. What’s not to love about that?

Products referenced in this post: Santa's Zombie Apocalypse

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