Zombie Joe’s Monsters Come Out At Night

I never know what to expect when I walk into a production at Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater. Will I walk through a haunted house like Brave the Dark? Will I see an interpretive piece like Cthulu? Will I see a straightforward play like West Destiny? Or will I be asked to bark like a dog for an Easter Egg? As it turns out, Monsters Come Out At Night is a little bit of each of those things, keeping that gleefully macabre Zombie Joe flair.

The Nightmares

The familiar smell of incense greeted us as we were led into the space in groups of 12, surrounded by long cloth sheets that groaned and undulated, begging for help or threatening to kill us. Guided through the space, we were welcomed by a cheerful madman who warned us of the nightmares that lay ahead. We were led from scene to scene by the actors and the long cloth sheets that acted like tunnels from one damaged mind into another.¬†Through the use of poetry, dance, and immersive theater, Monsters Come Out At Night explores the idea of darkness, the creatures lurking within it, and why we’re frightened of it.

Most of Monsters Come Out At Night is in almost complete darkness which awakens the other senses (hearing, touch) and brings a creepy feeling of unease. The vignettes are uncomfortable and can be triggering to some guests. During a more “typical” theater part of the production, I was astounded by the actors’ physicality and commitment to their demanding, creature-like roles. After we watched the final nightmare go hissing and writhing back from where it came from, we were let out into the real world, primed to have nightmares of our own.

Waking Up

Zombie Joe’s Underground Theater is not large, but, like other ZJU productions, Monsters Come Out At Night makes very efficient and effective use of the space, utilizing the back room and bathroom as well as the front lobby. Because the space is small, however, guests afraid of tight spaces should probably avoid this piece. I was disappointed that the show only ran for around 15 minutes, but with the toll something like this takes on the actors, it’s understandable.

Monsters Come Out At Night is for adults only, as it includes nudity, violence and language. Buy tickets here.

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