Cast Members of the Night of the Living Dead Share Their Experiences

Mariana Arboleda and Kimberley Donis

As the Brentwood Drama and Performing Arts Theater Department’s 2022-2023 performances come to an end, it’s worth reflecting on the talents and skills that students developed while preparing for the school’s play drama production, the Night of the Living Dead.  

Following the evening performances on Friday, Nov. 18, and Saturday, Nov. 19, cast members shared their experiences preparing for a show of sheer terror caused by deadly zombies. Their ability to deliver a performance where actors and actresses were literally eaten alive by deadly zombies is reflective of their talents and their versatility onstage.  

“To know that a classic horror movie could be a play and be well executed with just a few high schoolers – I think that’s really cool,” said Michell Hernandez, who played Helen. 

Cast members discussed the differences between this bone-chilling play and other theater performances they’ve done in the past. Many found it a challenge, while others loved how different it was from any previous plays. 

“This is different from all the characters I’ve played before,” said Deasia Valdemar, the News Anchor, who has participated in Brentwood’s theater programs since middle school.  

The cast have proven that Brentwood’s Drama and Performing Arts Theater Department is one where community, unity, and family makes all the obstacles seem small and easy to battle.  

Even when cast members had their own individual problems and obstacles to overcome, with a professional and positive attitude, they did not let it disrupt their performance.  

For those with lengthy monologues, it can be hard to try and memorize every single word.  

“I have a long monologue and it calls on my memorization skills,” said Valdemar “So, this made me realize that I can’t memorize lines within a day.”   

Aidyn Mendoza, who played Ben, also agreed that learning his lines was “a little bit of a struggle”.   

The most experienced actors, like Michell Hernandez, also encountered challenges. Blocking, where an actor must go to a specific place on stage or do something at a specific moment, tends to feel off and hard to do for her.   

 “Doing blocking when there is no set and no zombies attacking me. I have no one to fight and no props.” said Hernandez.  

During rehearsals, being able to work and improve on these skills with others felt rewarding in many levels.When practicing for something with people who share the same love, many of the cast agreed that “it feels more like you are doing something for fun,” instead of a monotonous duty. 

“Doing something with your friends doesn’t make it seem like a task you have to do,” said Hernandez.   

“The cast is a lot of fun to be around,” said Mendoza, “not just the cast, but like, also the crew.”

The crew and cast eventually grew to become a family, seeing each other multiple times a week.

“Definitely do not regret at all joining,” Mendoza said.

“It’s a fun experience” said Arianna Ortiz, a senior who played Barbara, “The enthusiasm helps a lot with getting us into the story.” 

Ortiz mentioned how supportive the environment around her was. The cast and crew have made sure that everyone felt welcome and safe, improving the performances to the very best.  

“It has made it really easy for us to make them [our characters] our own,” Ortiz said. 

Ebel Henrius, who played Johnny, said that even just attending rehearsals helped him “feel closer with everyone else involved in the play.” Rehearsals was a way for him to have “fun messing around with each other.” 

The cast of the Night of the Living Dead (Samuel

“That’s why I love the Performing Arts,” he said. “It’s one of the moments in my life where I can actually let loose of some of the baggage I have during the day.”  

This was a play that had everyone at the edge of their seats. Previous the evening shows, the cast felt confident that their performances will blow everyone’s minds through the story’s plot twists. 

 “All we have to do now is tell a story,” said Ortiz. “And that’s what we are doing on the day of the show, we get to tell our story.”

Ortiz felt that despite all the nervousness that comes along with performing on stage, show days are always “the easiest” days as everyone already knows what they are doing.   

“I feel like with our strong cast, we are prepared for anything” said Valdemar.