Haunted Aud brings fright, entertainment to students
Theatre senior Michael Cleland spent his Halloween weekend caged in the Auditorium, hidden by a corpse — or so it appeared to attendees of the Department of Theatre’s annual Haunted Aud.
The haunted house actor wore a completely blue suit and armed himself with a fake chainsaw. His acrobatic act involved leaping and flipping about the cage and ominously dragging the saw against the cages’s bars.
Throughout the weekend, Cleland said one attendee in particular was alarmed by his theatrics.
“(The attendee) told me when he first got into the room, ‘Whoa, that guy is so flexible,’” Cleland said. “He turned the corner, and I leaped out with a head and a fake chainsaw, and he goes, ‘Oh, you’re way scarier than flexible.’”
The fear factor was assisted by fog machines, lighting and eerie, masked actors.
“There were a bunch of fog machines, (and) the lights were really blinding,” he said. “Then we had a bunch of people hidden in mirrored masks or neutral masks, so you couldn’t see their expressions, come running out of the (Auditorium) seats.”
Education junior Meg Thompson, who dropped her wallet while walking through the Haunted Aud, said she got the surprise of a lifetime when she went back to search for it.
“(A little girl) was following us, and no one realized she was there,” Thompson said. “I had to go back to get (my wallet,) and it was funny, but scary because she had just been there the entire time.”
Theatre junior Casey Hunsberger co-designed the Haunted Aud and helped develop this year’s theme: nightmares.
Although Hunsberger didn’t act this year, he still managed to frighten a few people, saying that his favorite scare moment happened unexpectedly.
“I was walking behind a group to try and get the actors some snacks, and one girl fell on her knees and started crying,” Hunsberger said. “Her boyfriend had to drag her out.”
Cleland said the actors do anything they can, within their limits, to scare audiences.
He said the actors never make physical contact, but audience members don’t necessarily guarantee the same.
“I’ve jumped out and been whacked,” Cleland said. “I don’t mind getting smacked too much because it’s an immediate reaction of horror.”
Even though Thompson said she typically doesn’t startle easily, the Haunted Aud kept her on her toes even after attending it for a third consecutive year.
“(Actors) did a good job of making (the Haunted Aud) as real as they could; that added to the experience and made it more exciting,” she said. “It being my third time, I kind of knew what to expect, so I liked that it held my attention.”
Hunsberger said the event’s growth resulted in some undesirably long lines.
“The feedback has been great,” he said. “The only complaint was (about) line length, but that comes with the event getting bigger.”
Thompson said while she didn’t like waiting in line, her patience paid off in the end.
“(The Haunted Aud) met my expectations, and I feel that it was worth my time,” she said. “(It was) a good experience and made me more excited for Halloween weekend and got me more in the mood. Overall, it was a good time.”