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The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

The University of Utah's Independent Student Voice

The Daily Utah Chronicle

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Feed me, theatre!

While the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” will always be the Halloween weekend standard, this year a more eclectic range of options is available. “The Least of These,” a U Lab Theatre piece, and “Little Shop of Horrors,” a Broadway musical embarked on a national tour, visit Salt Lake City. Both promise to offer something new to Halloween weekend.

Written by U theater student Jared Anderson, “The Least of These” may permanently raise the standard for graphic detail in performing arts. While categorized as a horror/comedy, the horror aspect is enough to prohibit those under the age of 16 from attending.

Due largely in part to Anderson’s form of theater, which is designed to find new languages to communicate to an audience, the story of “The Least of These” shows remarkable similarities to post-apocalyptic science fiction. This offers a refreshing break from traditional drama.

Survivors of a devastating global war struggle to make sense of their situation, decide what courses of action to take, and maintain their sanity.

The work offers a unique blend of both absurd comedy and extreme violence. Through the use of heavy sound designs, severe lighting, and a lack of traditional dialogue, director Hugh Hanson transforms “The Least of These” into a visceral experience.

The innovative style and execution of the play does not come at the expense of its ability to powerfully touch an audience. Despite the attention given to effects and the story’s intensely macabre feel, the heart of “The Least of These” is how it evokes emotion through its characters.

Theater fans will also be excited to hear that this weekend Capitol Theatre will host “Little Shop of Horrors” in its first national tour. Based on the 1960 Roger Corman film, “Horrors” stars an evil, mini-cooper sized plant that hovers 20 feet above stage.

The story begins innocently enough. A mild-mannered florist named Seymour makes a pact with one of his tiny plants to win the heart of the woman he loves. Soon the plant, and Seymour, become celebrities. Unfortunately, the plant also becomes super-powerful and needs human blood to survive, thus dampening Seymour’s love life, and forcing him to spring into action.

Directed by Jerry Zaks, the musical first premiered in 1982, and subsequently was performed more than 2,000 times at the Orpheum Theater alone. Composer Alan Menken, who has also written music for “Aladdin,” “The Little Mermaid” and “Beauty and the Beast,” composed the entire score for “Horrors.” It has since garnered national critical acclaim.

Like “The Least of These,” “Little Shop of Horrors” puts on a show that breaks away from the norm. Use of vibrant colors and unusual props give sets a cartoonish feel.

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