Cast members say the Chattahoochee Shakespeare Company’s newest production has the usual feel-good lessons you’d expect from theater.
Follow your dreams. Stay positive. Good things happen to good people.
But there’s a catch.
“It just happens to be about eating flesh and survival,” said Troy Heard, artistic director of ChattShakes.
Welcome to the world of “Cannibal! The Musical.”
The play, which comes to The 102 on Sixth Street tonight, is based on the true story of Alferd Packer , the infamous Colorado cannibal.
Trey Parker of “South Park” fame originally created the show as a student film while he was at the University of Colorado at Boulder.
Parker’s connection with “Cannibal!” will likely help draw audiences to the local production, Heard said.
“People are familiar with ‘South Park’ and the raunchy kind of comedy he’s known for,” Heard said.
Easy to digest
Edward Senior V, who plays Packer, said his character isn’t a complicated villain with a calculated focus on malice.
“Packer’s not a very bright man,” Senior said. “He’s a simple man.”
He unexpectedly ends up leading a group of miners on a journey to Colorado Territory. The play is set in the late 1800s.
When things go awry, Packer enters survival mode.
“Along the way, we just have trials and tribulations. We have to resort to whatever will keep us alive,” he said.
You know, some people stumble into fortune. Others stumble into cannibalism.
Senior said he was drawn to the show largely because of its quirkiness.
“You come to Troy and you see these obscure, just different, types of plays,” he explained.
Heard was familiar with the play, having directed “Cannibal!” when he was a graduate student at the Savannah College of Art and Design.
He wanted the ChattShakes to have a Halloween show, so he decided to bring “Cannibal!” to Columbus.
Heard bills the performance as a version of “Blazing Saddles” — with chainsaws.
The show is recommended for immature audiences — thanks to its “extreme cartoon violence and tasteless humor,” Heard quips.
Guests don’t have to worry about having their limbs served on a platter, but they should prepare for a somewhat hands-on experience.
“We just get really close to the audience,” said Brittain White, who plays a trapper in the show.
The first two rows of seating are dubbed a “Splatter Zone” — but plastic sheets are provided.
Confused? It’s probably best not to over-analyze. Just sit back, relax and embrace the madness.
“It’s so ridiculous, you can’t help but have a good time,” White said.