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Creating an Audience for Community Theatre: A Case Study of Night of the Living Dead at the Roadhouse Theatre

by Connick, Robert

Abstract (Summary)
The Roadhouse Theatre for Contemporary Art, located in Erie, Pennsylvania, combines theatre and film as their primary form of artistic development in the Erie community. Through hosting film festivals and adapting film scripts for the stage, the Roadhouse brings cinematic qualities into its theatrical productions in an effort to reach a specific market in Erie. This study focused on the Roadhouse’s production history and highlights one particular work that has developed from there into a production available for national publication and distribution: Lori Allen Ohm’s stage adaptation of Night of the Living Dead. The success of this play provided the Roadhouse with criteria to meet four aspects that Richard Somerset-Ward lists as necessary for successful community theatres. This study examined how Night of the Living Dead developed at the Roadhouse Theatre and the aspects of the script that have made it successful at other theatres across the country. By looking at themes found in the script, I presented an argument for the play’s scholarly relevance. By creating a script with national interest and relevance, Lori Allen Ohm and the Roadhouse Theatre created an historical legacy that established the theatre as one that reached its local audience while also providing something new and worthwhile to American theatre as a whole. George Romero and John Russo’s 1968 film Night of the Living Dead provided critics with a means of problematizing many aspects of American society. In 2000, Lori Allen Ohm created a stage adaptation of this film for the Roadhouse Theatre for Contemporary Art in Erie, Pennsylvania. Her script brought out many of these same critiques. For this study, I examined three themes that relate to current American fears: humanity vs. society, humanity vs. technology, and humanity vs. the “other.” I provided examples from previous scholarship on the film for these themes and specified selections from the play script which show these themes at work in the text.
Bibliographical Information:

Advisor:

School:Bowling Green State University

School Location:USA - Ohio

Source Type:Master's Thesis

Keywords:night of the living dead lori allen ohm robert connick roadhouse theatre community

ISBN:

Date of Publication:01/01/2007

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