Zombies coming to Park City Library
July 15, 2011
Zombies have taken over the world.
They’re in films, TV and books. Even classic books have been tampered with. Jane Austen’s "Pride and Prejudice" has been turned into "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" by Seth Grahame-Smith.
Puppeteer Randall McNair, co-owner of McMazing Tales Productions with his friend Will McCallister, said he wanted to create an all-ages show, called "One World, Too Many Zombies," about these reanimated corpses.
"It seems everyone is about zombies right now," McNair said during an interview with The Park Record. "Will and I decided we wanted to see if we can make something family friendly and ride the zombie wave."
The first show the two came up with involved zombie puppets doing a lot of chase scenes, which usually ended with them tearing each other to pieces, he said.
"It was hilarious, but when we watched the tape, we said to each other, ‘Um, I don’t think this is going to fly,’" McNair laughed. "So, we toned it down. There is still a scene where a mad scientist gets eaten by his zombie creation, but it’s done in fun way where the kids will get some good laughs."
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The production, which will be presented for free at the Park City Library, 2155 Park Ave., on July 21 at 2 p.m., includes a zombie love story subplot as well.
"It’s like those cartoons where the brain checks out and infatuation takes over, and the characters do crazy things," McNair said.
As a prelude, the puppets will interpret the age-old legend, "Tar Pockets or the Hairy Toe."
"It’s one of those campfire stories about a man who finds a toe in his garden and he takes it home and cooks it and eats it, and while he’s sleeping, a monster who lost the toe comes looking for it," McNair said with a laugh. "I found the story in a collection of old American folk tales. There are a bunch of different versions of it."
McNair, a former animation major at Brigham Young University, formed McMazing Tales with McCallister four years ago.
"We met in a storytelling class at BYU," McNair said. "During my studies, I was a ‘Storytime’ teller at the Springville library."
McNair eventually quit the library gig, but was asked to continue on a freelance basis, because the kids liked him so much.
"I asked if I could do puppet shows and they said, ‘That would be awesome,’" he said. "So I asked Will if he would like to do puppet shows with me."
McNair grew up watching "Sesame Street" and "Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood," which used a lot of puppets. Then he got into fantasy and science fiction films and "Mystery Science Theater 3000."
"I know this is kind of nerdy, but anytime there was a creature in a movie or a monster or special effect, I always rewinded the tape to see how they did it, because I wanted to copy it," he said.
Puppeteering, if done right, it is very fulfilling, McNair said.
"Puppets are like animation, because everything is alive and has a personality," McNair said. "That opens up a world with no boundaries.
"When the kids get involved, it’s just magic," he said. "You can tell the same story 12 different times and it will come off differently each time, but the kids add so much to it. Our biggest goal is to wind them up and then sit back and react to what they feed us.
"Connecting with the audience in the first five minutes of a show in important," he said. "If you can get the kids to see you as a friend, it doesn’t matter what you do because they will be so into the show that they will kind of dictate what you do next. If you don’t hit that connection, you’ll fall flat, and that is a painful experience."
McMazing Tales will present "One World, Too Many Zombies" at the Park City Library and Education Center, 1255 Park Ave., on Thursday, July 21, at 2 p.m. Admission is free. For more information, visit http://www.parkcitylibrary.org.