Immersive Theater: Zombie Joe's Underground Presents POPALYPT1C

 Photo Credit: Shayne Eastin

Photo Credit: Shayne Eastin

Popalypt1c, the latest play from director/writer Shayne Eastin, is set in a post-apocalyptic nightmare where the battle between good vs evil is at the forefront of this barren landscape and the catastrophic results of modern technology are seen through the actions of those who have survived. Popalypt1c stars Jason Britt, Nick D’Alberto, David Dickens, Anes Hasi, Abel Kidane, Skye LaFontaine, Daniel Palma, Alyssa Weldon and Caiti Wiggins. 

As far as I know, Popalypt1c is the first play that I have seen from Shayne Eastin. I’ve seen her perform plenty of times, and was always blown away by her dedication to her craft. Now having seen the production of her own show, I can say without a doubt that Eastin is overflowing with talent both as a performer and director. Eastin was able to transform the space within Zombie Joe’s so that it made the viewers feel as though they were in the throes of a post apocalyptic world and that is no easy feat.

The story of Popalypt1c centers mainly on good vs. evil and the advancement of technology and our obsession with it. Our two main characters consist of an android that resembles a Christ figure known as “Mother” and a powerful anti-Christ being hell-bent on acquiring total power over the land. For him to achieve this, he needs to get close to the android to steal her power. Each of these characters also is equipped with their own personal followers, reminiscent of Christ disciples, especially when one of them betrays “Mother”. What’s great about this show is that everyone is going to have their own takeaway, and for me, someone who grew up attending Church, I easily saw the parallels between Popalypt1c and religion. 

 Photo Credit: Shayne Eastin

Photo Credit: Shayne Eastin

Along with the incredible directing from Eastin, this show really shined in the acting department. Every actor was committed to their role, no matter how unsavory that character was. What I’ve always admired during a Zombie Joe show was how the actors were able to transform the space through their performances to make the viewer feel as though they are in the world that they are creating, even without all the necessary props and set designs. Popalypt1c is no different, and through the lens of different vignettes, I really felt like we were surrounded by a post-apocalyptic world. I also liked how all the characters had such extreme personalities, whether it be the followers who had blind allegiance to “Mother” or the demon, or the Latin lovers who went above and beyond during their dance numbers, each actor brought something unique and over-the-top to their character. 

In terms of the story, I really liked what Eastin came up with. We are now living in a day an age where technology has taken over our lives. We are waiting with bated breath on what is going to be the next big thing in the world of technology and we never stop to think how it might be detrimental to us and the world. As the years go on, it’s not such a far-fetched idea that the apocalypse could happen at the hands of intelligent machinery. Robots, or Artificial Intelligence, have always made me feel uneasy, and even though I joke about robots taking over like in T2, a part of me feels strongly that that is a plausible scenario. If we are stripped of all technology how would we react? Eastin shows us in Popalypt1c and it’s a harrowing sight.

Overall, I think Eastin hit a grand slam Popalypt1c. It showcased her talents as a writer and director and it’s made me want to see more of her shows. With the talents of these incredible actors pushing along her story with a theme that is not too far-fetched, Popalypt1c stands strong in it’s message and execution. With only one weekend left, I would definitely suggest checking this show out before it’s run ends. At the very least, you can at least be prepared for what side to be on when androids, demons and humanoids collide during the apocalypse. 

Shannon M.

For more information and to purchase tickets, visit ZombieJoes.com

 Photo Credit: Shayne Eastin

Photo Credit: Shayne Eastin