Saturday Night was host to Long Island’s premiere shadow cast of the latest Rock Opera Repo: The Genetic Opera presented by Z.E.N. (Zydrate Enthusiasts Network), a local group of enthusiasts.
For those who haven’t experienced Repo, The story takes place after millions die from an epidemic of organ failures. One company, GeneCo steps forward and offers organ transplants to those who can’t afford it. But these transplants come at a price. Can’t keep up with your organ payments? Organ Repossessions have been made legal, so watch out for the Repo Man!
In a style not unlike the midnight showings of Rocky Horror, the Z.E.N. cast performed along with the movie, while members of the audience participated in song and witty commentary. The action begins outside the theater as cast members dressed as characters in the show passed out vials of zydrate (glow-sticks), the anesthetic of choice in the world of Repo. The crowd chants “Everybody Everybody Testify!” and waits to be let into the theater.
In the show, the cast performs on stage, and sings and acts along with the scenes in the movie. Often incorporating or addressing the audience directly. The experience immerses the audience in the center of the action, excitement and outrage. The antics of the live cast add a new element to the movie.
While I’m not into musicals, I have taken on a liking to performance that incorporates great music, and/or visuals. Repo comes across as a graphic novel on the screen and features some incredible music. Some of the lyrics could have used a little more work, but they work with the story line. Having seen the movie, just a few nights earlier for the first time, I somewhat knew what to expect at the shadow cast, but seeing it really made it worth it.
I knew a few of the people in the cast, and I have to say that I think they played their parts the best. Jim played the Grave Robber, my favorite character in Repo and played him well. There was little distinction between watching the on-screen actor and him. Then there were the henchwomen, one of which was played by another friend of mine, Sarah. Again, I don’t think she broke character (or a smile, appropriate for her role) once. I can’t say that they were the only ones who were phenomenal. Everyone seemed to have worked hard and knew their parts and queues well, The only issue I recognized was an issue with a quick costume change, but the actor continued his part despite having both hands tied (literally). Everybody stuck to “the script”. Even those who didn’t added in realism or humor making ths shadow cast a lot of fun.
To quote one of the guys sitting near me at the end of the show, “This was the best twelve dollars I ever spent!”. That pretty much sums up the performance, so keep an eye out for the next Zydrate Enthusiasts Network (Z.E.N.) shadow cast of Repo: The Genetic Opera