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October 31, 2006

Zombies, dragons at UT

Zombies attack villagers. A dragon ravages the Earth. A man trying to save his wife is flung into a dinosaur-infested past. This seems like a reasonable premise for a rock-opera EP by Ludo, a power-pop band from St. Louis, but what about for a curtains-and-cubes show in the first floor theater of Reynolds? If you are director Paul Bruton, it most certainly is.

Paul saw the band perform Broken Bride last October and was struck by the music instantly. In March, when he was considering the sort of show he would like to direct, he realized that the answer had been playing in the background all along. He contacted the band, which enthusiastically agreed to let him turn their EP into a stage production, and even remixed the whole CD without vocals especially for the show.

“Considering that this is my first full show, and that this is the first time this has ever been staged, the whole process has gone remarkably smoothly,” Bruton said.

What is even more remarkable is the amount of creativity that went into producing this show so that it even made sense, considering the magnitude of the story involved. They convincingly portrayed the destruction of the world, swarms of pterodactyls, and an earth-scorching dragon with only cubes, sound, and lights.

While the most engaging scenes are easily the ones involving villagers battling zombies or the massacre of futuristic soldiers, the show also has a surprisingly touching element.

“You have this outlandish premise, but its core is the story of a man trying to save his wife,” explained Bruton.

If you are in the mood for some intense rock music, zombies stomping a few feet from your seat, chaos spread across the earth, dinosaurs attacking, anarchy descending, and the Earth scorched to a crisp, then this is probably the show you have been waiting for. For those who may not be so into all that flaming death and doom, it’s a love story. And all that in half an hour.

Broken Bride is playing Thursday through Saturday at 10 p.m. with a second showing on Friday at 11 p.m. in the first floor theater of Reynolds club.

“Whatever the reaction is, that’s fine. I want there to be some reaction,” Bruton said of his goals for the audience’s reaction. He has little to worry about.

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