The curtain opens tonight on Oddfellows Playhouse's production of William Shakespeare's Land of the Dead: A True Account of the Zombie Plague of 1599.
15-year-old Zoe Lerman of Durham, a sophomore honors student at Coginchaug High School, plays the lead role of Shakespeare.
"I am very excited to be playing Shakespeare. It's quite an honor and privilege to be playing such a revolutionary writer," says Zoe.
"At the same time though, I feel a lot of burden and stress because I am playing such a famous person; it's really important to me to portray Shakespeare strongly and in a good light but also stay true to the script."
Land of the Dead is set in 1599 London, where plague has spread and actors inside the Global Playhouse must fight for their lives.
"Land of the Dead is not just appealing to people because it has "zombies" in the title, [the play] explores the credit people have bestowed upon Shakespeare and gives a very different and unexpected view on who Shakespeare was, his personality, and how much his work actually meant to him," says Zoe.
Durham's Liz Chippolina is costume and art director for the play, which was written by John Heimbuch and directed by Hannah Simms.
The production runs Nov. 9-10 and Nov. 15-17. All performances begin at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $15 for adults and $8 for students and seniors.
"Oddfellows is an incredible organization that gives children of all ages and backgrounds — racially and economically — an opportunity to explore the arts and discover what it means to them," says Zoe. "I've been with Oddfellows since 7th grade, and it has changed my life. It's like my second home."
Tickets are available online at http://www.oddfellows.org or by calling 860-347-6143. Oddfellows Playhouse is located at 128 Washington St, Middletown.