OU troupe to give audience a Nightmare

By Rory McCarty

Senior Reporter

As one of the unsuspecting characters dozes off, the lighting shifts to a blood red color and the music gradually becomes more ominous. Before long, Freddy makes his way to the stage.

“A Nightmare on Elm Street” is the last in a series of horror films that were adapted to the stage by students at Oakland University in “A Nightmare on Elm Street Live!”

The third and final show in the horror theater trilogy, which began with “Friday the 13th Live!” and “Halloween Live!,” will be performed nightly Oct. 26 through Oct. 31 in the Varner Hall Lab Theater.

Ryan Falcheck, who plays child murderer Freddy Kruger as well as co-directing and co-writing the play, has been involved with the horror theater trilogy since the beginning.

“We really wanted to capture the up close and personal feel of ’80s horror,” Falcheck said.

Co-writer and producer Denver Surgener recalled when they came up with the idea for the first horror show.

“We were sitting at Coney Island with a couple of buddies and they said ‘We should put Friday the 13th on stage!”‘ Surgener said.

But Surgener said he and Falcheck not only thought the idea was great, they had the script for “Friday the 13th Live!” written the same day.

“We’ve been watching horror movies for so long, it’s like our life force, it just pours out of us. Doing these things is just like breathing,” Surgener said.

Ttari Hellmer, a senior in theater performance, says she’s been waiting three years to get into

one of the Halloween plays because she says they’re amazing.

“I wanted to get a chance to work with Ryan and Denver before they go to L.A. and become famous,” Hellmer said.

Hellmer plays the role of Mrs. Thompson in the play. “I’m usually cast as the mom or the crazy old lady, so it’s good to be the crazy mom for a change.”

Falcheck and Surgener adapted the play from the original movie, attempting to translate the gory details as well as the story.

“It’s definitely got some original kills, but it’s got ideas based off the movie,” Falcheck said.

Falcheck said that unlike their first show, the violence on stage this time will not be so extreme that the audience will need to wear garbage bags to shield themselves from blood splatter, as some did at the “Friday the 13th Live!” shows.

Craig Hemming, a senior theater major who plays the role of Jesse in “Nightmare on Elm Street,” said that he enjoys working with the fake blood on stage. “It’s fun, and it looks good,” Hemming said.

Some of the roles are double cast, meaning that the character is played by a different actor or actress that alternates each night. One such role is that of Nancy, who is played by both Amanda Ryskamp and Danielle DeWulf.

“I find sometimes when we’re going through a scene I’m honestly scared,” said Ryskamp, who also played Linda in “Halloween Live!”

Falcheck also said that this will likely be the last horror theater show at OU, due to his graduation earlier this year and the fact that other key players are leaving OU as well.

Falcheck admits however, that he has had thoughts about what other movies he could possibly translate. According to him, “Scream” and “Texas Chainsaw Massacre” are at the top of his list.