|Posted on March 13, 2015 at 12:10 PM|
by Nick Cushion On March 13, 2015
Just under a month ago we brought news that The Generation of Z was going to be invading London fresh off our it’s domination of both New Zealand and Edinburgh (to rave reviews), it was something that we were excited and terrified about in equal proportions! For anyone who may have missed the announcement; the Generation of Z is a theatre experience like no other, it puts you squarely into the heart of a true zombie apocalypse with death and chaos unfolding around you every little step of the way; viewers are thrust into their very own action movie where the choices they make directly impact how the story plays out.
Earlier on today we had the opportunity to have a little chat with and interview one of the producers of The Generation of Z, Beth Allen and explore what it takes to create something truly unique; how do you take the idea of a zombie apocalypse (which is something that has been done many, many, many, many times before) and turn it into a fully immersive, pant-fillingly terrifying experience?
First, a bit of background
Beth Allen is from Auckland, New Zealand and she started her acting career in the mid 90’s (something she suddenly felt quite old about when we discussed it, sorry Beth!) where she joined a TV show called Riding High, she then worked practically solidly doing TV and Movie roles up until 2014 with her most famous role being that of Brooke Freeman in the TV show, Shortland Street where she played Freeman in a whopping 440+ episodes, which by anyones count is insane!
Now for the main event, the interview
IB: As the internet has lead me to believe, you have been acting since the mid 90’s; what made you decide to take the jump into producing instead?
BA: I have always been interested in behind the scenes work and the idea of putting a project together and seeing it through. In my early 20’s I discovered that I had more time and decided to explore that as an avenue and in 2008 myself and Charlie [Charlie McDermott, Beth’s Husband]
started to produce plays of our own.
IB: Did you find the transition difficult, switching from being in front of the camera to suddenly running things behind the scenes?
BA: You adapt very quickly actually, I absolutely loved being an actor but I just didn’t want the unpredictability that comes with it and I wanted to be in control of my own destiny as it were. Acting is great while the work is there but there is always a certain gamble, when you are behind the scenes and in control then everything is a little more secure'
IB:Where did the inspirations for Generation of Z come from
BA: I can’t really take much of the credit for that actually; it was mainly driven by Charlie McDermott, Simon London, and David Van Horn as a result of boys who play videogames wanting to bring their experiences to life in a way that hadn’t been seen before and really watch it take on a life of it’s own
Which, to be fair it seems to have done!
IB: What were your goals when you started Generation of Z? What were you hoping to achieve?
BA: Just under 2 years ago we wanted a way to draw an audience into theatre that hadn’t been done before, more specifically we wanted to draw the younger male audience and this provided us with a niche in that market. We were absolutely amazed by the reception it received and every time we do a show in a new venue we always want to make it bigger and better than before.
IB: On that note, what are your plans after the shows in London?
BA: Worldwide plans, really. The show provides something that isn’t really contained to a certain area and has things that could translate well all around as it is able to tap into that feeling that most people seem to have about their thoughts on how they would fare in a zombie situation.
IB: If you could sum up the experience of Generation of Z in one word, what would it be?
BA: Whirlwind! Both in terms of what the audience experience and for us behind the scenes as well. It was almost exactly a year ago that the first show was launched in Christchurch in New Zealand; Christchurch was ravaged by some really severe earthquakes and the city was looking for ways to rebuild interest so having the chance to set up an apocalypse in a city that had been devastated and looked like an actual apocalypse was really interesting.
Originally the plan for myself and Charlie was always to move to London anyway but when the rest of the crew came over for the show in Edinburgh they were only expecting a short stay (with most of us still holding down full time jobs back in New Zealand), with the show in London this has obviously extended that stay for all of the crew.
IB: Finally, and I have to ask this question really, if you found yourself in some form of Zombie apocalypse, what would your survival plans be?
BA: I would attach myself to someone who knows anything about zombies or maybe I’ll just become one of those people who just shuts themselves inside and refuses to come out. Maybe I’m not the best person to have around in that situation…
So there we have it, information of the origins, the future, and who you maybe should avoid during a real zombie apocalypse.
Big thank you to Beth Allen for talking to us and giving us the inside scoop on what’s involved with creating your own apocalypse. The show will be running from 4th April to 5th July 2015