The cast of Little Shop of Horrors crowds around the newest addition to their set. Five versions of the namesake plant “Audrey 2,” each one bigger than the next. “They’re so real” echoes among the students.
The five puppets arrived at the U-32 auditorium Monday night, all the way from Canada, where a forklift was needed to lower the biggest version of Audrey 2 out of the theater it was previously housed in.
The various puppets show the growth of the man-eating plant from outer space, from small hand puppet to five-foot tall behemoth. They are all controlled by student puppeteer Sophia Heinz. Theater Director Erin Galligan Baldwin collects the actors on stage to give directions.
“Everyone that gets eaten come with me, the rest of you just, plant yourselves here… get it?”
The three actors who get eaten, Justin Murray, Sylvan Williams, Nora Dillon, and their understudies Camille Cheeney, JC Allen, and Kyley Sullivan all stand around the green giant.
“It’s Camille’s turn to be eaten first,” Erin says. Sophia goes behind the puppet and opens it colossal foam jaws. Camille jumps in and squirms around on the big padded purple mouth. Slowly, the foam jaws close around her.
“Now I want you to flail around in it, keep one leg out.”
“Like you’re getting eaten by a shark.”
Camille sticks her boot out, flailing and screaming, as the other actors giggle in the background. Suddenly her foot disappears. And seconds later Camille shoots out the back.
“That was fun!”
Photo credit: Max Baskind