Chills and thrills: Tupelo Community Theatre’s Haunted Theatre opens next week

By Sheena Barnett/NEMS Daily Journal

Most of the ghouls and goblins at the Tupelo Community Theatre’s Haunted Theatre are fake – except, of course, for the Lyric’s actual ghost.
Antoine, the Lyric’s resident specter, tried to help Steve Miller, who directs the Haunted Theatre, set up over the weekend.
“I was in here on Saturday, by myself, and I heard wood clacking together – clack clack clack,” he said. “I thought somebody had come in through the back door, so I yelled out, ‘Hey, who’s there?’ Nobody answered. But I heard the sound, over and over, clack clack clack clack clack clack.”
Antoine may or may not show up when the Haunted Theatre opens next week, but Miller has a whole theater-full of monsters and creepers ready to take his place and deliver the chills.
The Haunted Theatre, now in its sixth year, winds all over the building, from the stage to the dressing rooms to rehearsal rooms. There are seven major rooms, each with its own theme. It’s up to the groups in charge of the rooms to fully realize their own scare tactics.
“This is the biggest. Every year it gets bigger and bigger and bigger,” Miller said.
He won’t go into specifics about what spooks visitors will see, but on Monday he was working on an autopsy/mad doctor room with Brian Gray. Upstairs, Tupelo High School theater students put the final touches on their bloody room. Some of the students left with fake blood on their hands.
Gray, who’ll do a bit of chasing at the Haunted Theatre, said there’s a scare for everybody.
“What gets to some people doesn’t get to other people, so we have a lot of rooms,” he said.
The last thing Miller and Gray needed to add to the autopsy was a bit of fake blood.
“We make our own blood,” Miller said. “The recipe’s a family secret.”
Because it’s a Haunted Theatre, the actors are professionally scary, and they favor theater make-up over masks.
Miller and Gray all used set pieces from past productions to help build every part of the Haunted Theatre.
This is Miller’s fourth year to work on the event, and he admits, Antoine or no Antoine, the Haunted Theatre sends chills down his back.
“You know, I don’t go see a lot of scary movies,” he said, “but I know what bothers me, and these are things that bother me.”
sheena.barnett@journalinc.com

If you dare
What: Tupelo Community Theatre’s Haunted Theatre
When: 7 p.m. Oct. 20-22, 27-29

Where: The Lyric

Cost: $10

Info: (662) 844-1935, www.tct.ms Kid-friendly? The Haunted Theatre is appropriate for kids 10
and up.