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“Bat Boy” Makes for a Bloody Good Show 

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Katie Kostner (Ruthie) makes a bat shadow puppet while rehearsing.

During the first weekend of March, Viterbo University’s Conservatory for the Performing Arts presented “Bat Boy: The Musical.” The blood-drenched horror show was hosted in the LaCroix Black Box Theatre and directed by conservatory professor Teddy Eck. The story, set in Hope Falls, Virginia, follows the development of the title character, Bat Boy (played by Jake Aune), as he is dragged from his cave and made to be a proper human boy. Equipped with nothing but his bald head, two fangs, and a hunger for blood, Bat Boy is taken in by the Parker family. Dr. Parker (Robbie Alston), Meredith (Katie Schafer), and their daughter, Shelley (Reagan Kettner), discover the unexpected and twisted past of their new family member.  

 

The show sold out for its full run as of Sunday, February 25th. The production also featured a section of seats called the “splash zone,” in which audience members could be painted red with blood throughout the show’s various gruesome scenes. “The splash zone is 20 seats in the house right corner of the black box, where audience members can sit and really experience the joy, excitement, and gore of the show,” said director Teddy Eck.  

 

Those who chose to sit in the splash zone were provided with suitable protective wear: a rain poncho. “The stage blood is 100% waterproof. We’ve done many tests and every one of them left our all-white sheets and costumes spotless.” Viterbo’s music theatre and theatre program posted a sneak peek of the splash zone experience to Instagram, where Jessica Schneider (ensemble) was pictured in a yellow dress protected by a clear poncho dripping in fake blood. It seems that as long as the audience brings their least-cared-for shoes and a good attitude, they are in for a bloody treat. “It’s very interactive with the cast,” said Reagan Kettner, a junior music theatre major. “There’s some moments with blood being splashed on the audience, so if people want to be really in it… they should sit in the splash zone, for sure.”  

 

“My hope is that the audience leaves the theatre really feeling like they have experienced this production. I don’t want the audience to sit back and “view” the show. I want them to feel a part of it,” said Eck.  

 

Some conservatory students have noticed the trend this season to produce the shows to be more immersive. Notably, “Godspell” is going with a completely new and unique concept this spring, as well. “Bat Boy,” however, truly brought the audience into the atmosphere of Hope Falls, Virginia.  

 

When asked how he found out about this violent rock musical, Eck replied, “When I was in undergrad in NYC, I saw this show when it premiered off-Broadway.  It was a cult favorite among my classmates and I, and I’ve loved the gritty campiness of it ever since.” When asked what her first impression of the show was, Kettner stated, “Wack. It’s wacko, but it’s really fun. I think the music is really fun and I like the story of it even though it’s really crazy…. It kind of teaches the audience about love and acceptance.”   

 

The show on March 1, 2, and 3, was the last show in the La Croix Black Box this season and is sure to be a show audiences will never forget.  

 

 

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Braydon Schoeffling
Braydon Schoeffling, Freelance Writer & Photographer
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