Slayer to sing on KSU stage

Elizabeth Myers

Sophomore rewrites and directs ‘Buffy’

Grace Bennett, a sophomore musical theater major, portrays Buffy in the lab production of “Once More, With Feeling,” the musical episode of “Buffy the Vampire Slayer.” The free show opens at 7 p.m. in the B005 theater of the Music and Speech Center. Eliza

Credit: Ron Soltys

When Sunnydale, Calif., imploded after the final battle, most of us thought “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” was gone from our lives forever.

But thanks to Carson Ross, sophomore musical theater major, we can all indulge in our favorite teenage drama once again.

Ross is directing the second free lab show of the semester: “Once More, With Feeling,” the musical episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer from season six.

“I joked about doing it last year,” Ross said, “then something came over me, and I just went for it.”

Every spring, the theater department puts on two student-directed lab shows in B005, the basement theater in the Music and Speech Center. Potential directors must petition theater faculty for the opportunity to direct.

“You have to win them over with the concept,” Ross said. He said he believes his idea was chosen because he knew the episode “inside and out.”

After seeing the original airing of the episode (Nov. 6, 2001), Ross purchased the script and soundtrack. Last year, he rewrote the script and adapted it for a stage production.

Ross said it was challenging trying to create something new from something so well-known and documented. Despite Ross’ lifelong love for the drama, most of his cast was unfamiliar with the show, let alone the specific episode he was asking them to act out.

Grace Bennett, sophomore musical theater major, who portrays Buffy Summers, had never seen the show before being cast.

“We watched the entire fifth season last semester during exam week,” Bennett said. Ross wanted the cast to watch so they could identify with their characters as well as gain knowledge to what was happening in the show before their episode happened.

“It’s been really fun to play the hero when girls are usually the damsel in distress,” Bennett said.

“Once More, With Feeling” depicts a resurrected Buffy, unsure of her calling and keeping secrets from her closest friends, nicknamed the “Scooby gang.” Many of the other characters are also harboring secrets when a musical demon named Sweet comes to Sunnydale, causing the whole town to break into song and dance. Problems start when secrets come out in song and over-zealous dancing causes people to burst into flames.

Though the show officially opens tonight, Ross held two open dress rehearsals Sunday afternoon and last night to accommodate more viewers. At the close of Sunday’s show, audience members swarmed the cast with compliments.

“I just sat there, and I’m like, this is a work of art,” sophomore theater major Jessica Kovalski said to Ross.

“Once More, With Feeling” opens at 7 p.m. and has another showing at noon tomorrow. Both shows are free and seating is based on a first-come, first-served basis.

Contact performing arts reporter Elizabeth Myers at [email protected].