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The North Wind

The North Wind

The North Wind

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Megan Voorhees
Megan Voorhees
Assistant News Editor

Hi! I’m Megan Voorhees and I’m the Assistant News Editor at The Northwind! I was first introduced to journalism my sophomore year of high school and I’ve been in love with the profession and writing...

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The North Wind is an independent student publication serving the Northern Michigan University community. It is partially funded by the Student Activity Fee. The North Wind digital paper is published daily during the fall and winter semesters except on university holidays and during exam weeks. The North Wind Board of Directors is composed of representatives of the student body, faculty, administration and area media.

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Ghouls and Goblins Haunt Forest Roberts Theatre

While ghouls and goblins roam the streets in search of candy or for a bit of Halloween hijinks, there will be different sorts of Halloween creatures roaming the aisles of the Forest Roberts Theatre as it showcases a haunted theater for both kids and adults.

The Haunted Theatre takes the place of “Scrooge” which has been an annual fundraising event for The First Nighters Club, which is putting on this production.

Director Marty Martello has taken the reins for this production and started planning out what he wanted to do with it as early as May and has put in around 160 hours into it.

“There’s literally 1,000 hours in this thing by the time you add up everyone’s time and effort,” Martello said.

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According to Martello, it was his idea to do a haunted house when it was decided that “Scrooge” wasn’t going to be in this year’s theatrical lineup.

“We were all sitting there, scratching our heads, thinking about what we were going to do to raise money and some silly person, that would be me, said ‘Why don’t we have a haunted house?'” Martello said. “We decided to do it because there’s nothing like it anywhere and we have the facilities to do it up really well technically.”

Martello said they haven’t crossed any boundaries that movies like “Saw” have. It’s that initial scare that’s fun, Martello added.

“The way it’s set up, like the birth canal, it’s like, ‘eh, okay, big deal, I’m just going through this stuff’ and then you’re into the maze and it’s terrifying and then the circus is scary in its own way because it’s a weird performance and people are afraid of clowns and then off we go to other crazy stuff,” Martello said.

Martello added that the most challenging aspect of this production was trying to find a way to make it theater and not just a place where someone jumps out from behind a corner with a mask on.

“This is a theater. We want to make sure people are getting a show. We’re trying to avoid crossing the line between something
that’s too gory and sick and trying to find a way technically to make it all happen,” Martello said.

Yet for all the hard work Martello has put into the production, there is one thing that he finds to be the most rewarding aspect of it all.

“The screams. When I hear people in the trash compactor and they realize the walls are starting to go and they scream, that makes me very happy,” Martello said.

According to scene shop graduate assistant and production manager Jen Henry, this was done to change things up a bit as “Scrooge” has been running for so long.

“I want to say 20 or 25 years. They just wanted something new, something refreshing,” Henry said.

This is actually the first year the theater department has put on a haunted house, even though other sections of NMU have put on their own, including the dance club, according to Henry.

“Part of that is because with “Scrooge” we have five shows in one school year,” Henry said. “That’s a big task for us to take on when we have outside events that come in and we have three sets of student-directed lab shows.”

Henry went on to add that there was no way to throw something else into the mix and that getting rid of “Scrooge” meant being able to shift their schedules around to allow for a haunted house.

As part of Henry’s managerial duties, it is her job to make sure that every aspect of the production is covered, which includes everything from making sure the performers have food to eat, since they’re inside the haunted house for a solid six hours, to making sure the front of the house is covered and is selling tickets. This includes managing the budget for the production, as well.

“We have a budget of about $1,500 to $2,000. It’s a good chunk of money, but we haven’t had to pay for a lot of our materials because they’re stock that we have in our theater department that we just use and repaint for whatever show we’re doing,” Henry said.

When it comes to the actual production, there will be two versions available: one for kids and one for adults. The kids version will feature less intense scenes and will be a bit more playful.

“The circus room is less twisted. It’s more toned down, less creepy costumes, a lot less gore,” Henry said. “The chainsaw room is actually ‘Pirates of the Caribbean.’ The witches are from ‘Harry Potter.’ We tone it down for them.”

Senior theater major Sarah Frame claims she’s not a fan of haunted houses, but she still enjoys the performance part of it.

“I like dressing up, and I like entertaining people. It’s a lot of fun,” Frame said.

In addition to performing, Frame expounded on what she thought would scare people the most.

“The hallway always gets everybody. It’s more of the psychological sort of scares, the car crash, the girl screaming and the baby. That’s more like the freaky stuff,” Frame said.

The Haunted Theatre runs Oct. 28-31 at the Forest Roberts Theatre. The PG rated show runs from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. and parental supervision is required for children under age seven. The PG-13 show starts at 9:30 p.m. and runs until midnight. Ticket prices for the PG show are $5 with a family rate of $15. The later show costs $12 for the general public and $10 for NMU students. Tickets are available at the door and only cash will be accepted.

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