Zombies invade the stage

Zombies invade the stage

From left: David Lee Rock, James Kopp, Josh Evans and Thor Reese pose as their characters Blair, Macready, Loomis and Wallace who must save the world from zombies.

Patricia Rocha, Reporter

The comedy-horror play “Geeks vs. Zombies” showing at The Empty Space is a production filled with what you’d expect from the title: references to comic books, video games, indie music, and of course, zombies. What may surprise audiences is the fact that beneath the pop culture references and profanity-laced dialogue, is a strong message of character and friendship.

Written by James Kopp and David Rock, the story centers around four friends, self-proclaimed geeks who have survived a month-long zombie invasion by using the knowledge they’ve acquired from all the movies, music, comic books, and video games they’ve mastered.

Co-writer James Kopp said he’d always wanted to write a zombie-themed play because there wasn’t one that referenced and poked fun at all the other zombie-themed mediums already out there.

“You would think there’d already be one,” said Kopp.

When Kopp’s longtime friend David Rock was on a similar writing path at the same time, Kopp asked him to help.

“I said, ‘sure, let’s try this out,’” said Rock, recalling the next four to five months the pair spent together writing the play.

Both writers say they wanted to write a real, meaningful plot, balanced with the fun zombie theme.

Through the intense zombie fights, crude jokes, and lots of talk of Star Trek, Resident Evil, Larry Flynt and Max Brooks, audiences will find there is more to the show than the title may suggest.

“Our main goal was to write a story, then zombies on top,” said Rock.

“We wanted to write about friendship,” said Kopp. “It’s a fun show, unlike anything you’ll see this year.”

Being the second year the show has played at The Empty Space, fans from last year were glad to come back to see it once more.

“I first saw it last year, and it was pretty amazing,” said Tyler Palo, 17. “The name is what really brought us in.”

These fans thought the play was worth sharing to others, and brought their friends.

“We heard it was really good from our friends,” said Norma Camorling, 17. “I think it’s pretty epic.”

Some changes were made to the original script so that this version was filled with more jokes and laughs than last year’s.

“I noticed some of the script was changed,” said Eric Danes, 18. “There were more pop culture references which were really funny.”

Like last year, a similar themed art gallery, called “Art vs. Zombies”, accompanies the play. The brainchild of Rock, the gallery houses many different pieces, from paintings and drawings to clothing and figurines. The gallery has grown since its introduction last year from eight artists to more than 30 this year.

“I’m very proud,” said Rock. “It takes an army to make that gallery.”

Those associated with the play are proud of the work everyone puts in to the production, and hope people will come and support the play and The Empty Space itself by continuing to donate.

“It’s really amazing,” said zombie actress Janice Bondurant, who is currently studying Criminal Justice at Bakersfield College. “I’m super, super proud. These guys are brilliant and this is one of the best [productions] I’ve ever been in.”

“I love the theme of friendship, of where your priorities lie,” she says. “But I also love the trashcan fight scene. All of the fight scenes are awesome.”

Though the zombies are the main threat, the real villain of the production seems to be the fake blood and sugar glass used.

“I just go to work like this,” said Rock as he looked down at his shiny red stained hands.

“We use a lot of Dawn soap,” said Bondurant. “It’ll stay for a day to two days.”

The play and gallery are open every Friday and Saturday this October starting at 7:30 p.m. at The Empty Space, 706 Oak Street, with admission being a suggested $10 donation.