Lighthouse Repertory Theatre’s production of “Little Shop of Horrors” concludes this weekend at the Crescent Elk Middle School auditorium.
Joey Young stars as Seymour Krelborn, the hapless caretaker of Audrey II, a 10-foot-tall man-eating plant.
Amy Wood plays the plant’s namesake and Seymour’s love interest, Audrey. Nick Corpstein provides the voice for Audrey II.
It’s one of the most challenging plays the Lighthouse Repertory Theatre has done since its inception in 1978, said President Jenny Young. Every year the theater puts on five productions, including a spring musical and a fall play. What made “Little Shop of Horrors” a challenge is constructing the giant man-eating plant, Young said.
“Audrey II is four different plants,” Young said. “It has to grow throughout the show. So we have a small plant that’s about a couple of feet high that you can hold. The next size up is about a 5-foot-high plant and then we have our big 10-foot-tall, 5-foot-wide man-eating Audrey II. She was built by Vinnie Christ.”
Two of the Audrey II versions are hand puppets manipulated by the actors. The other two, including the 10-foot-tall plant, have puppeteers inside. Christ said recently that he and other volunteers spent every Sunday since July constructing the Audrey II puppets out of wood, PVC pipes, screen door mesh and spray foam.
When it came to building the large plant, the challenge was designing it in such a way that would allow the puppeteer to manipulate it without it being too cumbersome, Christ said. He and the other builders turned to the “Little Shop of Horrors” movie and several You Tube demo videos for inspiration.
“What we settled on was an idea where the thing is still big and heavy, but instead of weighing it down a person, instead of trying to carry the thing, the thing is lifting you,” Christ said. “We used bungee cords to spring the mouth shut. You’re pushing down on it and letting the bungee cords push the mouth back up.”
Young requested that the biggest version of Audrey II not be photographed in advance so that the audience will be seeing it for the first time at the play.
Christ estimated that the cost of constructing all the Audrey II puppets at about $1,000. He said the materials used to construct the puppets were purchased locally, making it easier to find replacement parts should something break.
The show, which opened last weekend, plays at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday. A matinee will be performed at 2 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for seniors and students. They can be purchased at Del Norte Office Supply, 240 I St., Crescent City, or at the door.