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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.

Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Students protest against Israel-Hamas war with campus encampment
Dallas WiertellaApril 30, 2024

Haunted Theatre 2013: bigger, scarier

When Public Safety found senior Amber Lopota working late one night in the Forest Roberts Theatre’s scene shop last year, they made an unusual discovery. Lopota wasn’t surrounded by sawdust or paint, but by dozens of blood-soaked body bags.

Murder? Not at all. The body bags were props. ReSizehaunted theater

Lopota, who’s dual-majoring in Special Effects and Piano, was simply putting her degree to good use. She’s the student assistant director for NMU’s annual Haunted Theatre, organized by NMU and the First Nighters Club. Running from Thursday, Oct. 24 through Saturday, Oct. 26, this year’s Haunted Theatre will see the Forest Roberts stage overtaken by monsters, ghosts, and yes, maybe a body bag or two.

Though it’s only been running for five years, Haunted Theatre has already become one of Marquette’s premier Halloween traditions. But Director Marty Martello said it owes its existence to the end of another seasonal event.

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“A few years back, the First Nighters Club was looking for a new fundraiser to replace the funding we lost when we stopped doing ‘Scrooge,’” Martello said. “I came up with the idea of using the theater and the theater students to hold a haunted house.”

This year’s incarnation of the Haunted Theatre promises to be the most elaborate yet. According to Martello, the layout has been dramatically expanded from previous versions, both in terms of floor space and number of scares.

These changes have been in the works for almost a year, as the design process for 2013’s Haunted Theatre began the day after 2012’s closed for the season. But one of the event’s most important tasks–building the house itself–takes place just days before showtime.

“[There are, sic] corridors and rooms that have to be built, walls for the maze that have to go up, specialized lighting and sound specific to the Haunted Theatre. It’s actually quite a process,” Martello said.

Lopota is responsible for creating many of the scares which fill the Haunted Theatre. Lopota said her role as student assistant director gives her a good deal of creative freedom when it comes to designing the thrills and chills at the heart of the event.

“I have been obsessed with horror movies my whole life, and Halloween has always been my favorite holiday,” Lopota said. “So, as an adult, I think about what scares me the most.”

Haunted Theatre isn’t a grown-ups-only zone, however. Lopota said the cast actually develops two versions of the show each year–one for adults and one for kids. While both versions share the same general structure, there are some crucial differences between the two.

“We have a hands-off policy for the children’s show. Nobody who comes through during that show will be touched,” Lopota said. “We also have a no-profanity policy, and all of the scares are dialed back dramatically. Additionally, we also remove any violent elements present in the adult version.”

The cast and crew’s hard work ensures that 2013’s Haunted Theatre will be a can’t-miss event for thrill junkies of all ages, Lopota said, even (or especially) if they’ve been there before.

“No matter how many times you’ve visited the Haunted Theatre in the past, this is the year to go,” Lopota said. “We’ve completely re-designed the layout and re-conceptualized almost every single room. We’ve got new scenes, new creatures, and new scares.”

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