At Tupelo Community Theatre, 'Action!' means 'Boo!' starting Oct. 21

By M. Scott Morris/NEMS Daily Journal

TUPELO – Volunteers have been raiding the Tupelo Community Theatre warehouse, looking for ghosts and ghouls.
It’s almost time for the 2010 Haunted Theatre, a yearly ritual that transforms the nearly 100-year-old Lyric Theatre into a frightful place to visit.
“If you like being scared, this is it. This is terror,” said Steve Miller, Haunted Theatre director. “That’s what we’re planning.”
About 45 people will dedicate themselves to turning that plan into a reality. Some will be actors who create scary rooms throughout the theater; others will be hidden along hallways to say “Boo” when visitors least expect it.
“You’ll start in the lobby, and you’ll go up in groups. Usually, we don’t like to take them in groups bigger than eight,” Miller said. “There is something around every corner. There’s no downtime.”
A volunteer will guide each group through the maze of terrors.
Bobby Geno, who’s in charge of one of the rooms, has been dreaming up spooky ideas since the summer, when he took a tour of Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum in Washington, D.C.
“My room will be a classic horror wax museum,” Geno said. “I’ve been thinking about old horror movies and how I can put the actors in the most frightening positions. I want to have a lot of surprises for people coming through.”
Expect the unexpected
The Haunted Theatre will include coffins, nooses and cobwebs, as well as yards and yards of black plastic sheeting.
“People who’ve been in the Lyric Theatre won’t be able to recognize it,” Miller said.
He said you should expect strobe lights and black lights, plus “smoke, smoke and more smoke.”
“We’re going to have a guillotine and a torture chamber,” Miller said. “There will be a clown puppeteer running around, and we’ll have a haunted swamp. Every room is different this year because we didn’t want to repeat what we did last year.”
Some may recognize the shack in the haunted swamp as the garage from TCT’s spring production of “All Shook Up.”
“If we had to go out and purchase everything, it would be in the thousands,” Miller said. “Since we have it all in TCT’s warehouse, that lets us do what we’re able to do. Have you ever been in the warehouse? It’s amazing.”
Props are nothing without a few good skewed minds to put them to proper use. Luckily, TCT has skewed minds to spare.
“It’s not going to be gory. It’s not going to be indecent,” Miller said. “It’s just going to chill you to the bones.”
Contact M. Scott Morris at (662) 678-1589 or scott.morris@djournal.com.

Horror on demand
- What: TCT’s Haunted Theatre
- When: 7 p.m. Oct. 21-23 and Oct. 28-30
- Where: Lyric Theatre, Tupelo
- Tickets: $10
- Info: (662) 844-1935