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Pop culture, Halloween costumes, 5K runs, you name it ... zombies are everywhere.

So it makes sense that Max Mania wants audience members at his new interactive play, "Wait for the Blackout," to feel as if they're surrounded by zombies, with plenty of action, blood, guts and gore to go around.

Audience participation is a must to survive the Friday and Saturday night performances at the Majestic Theatre.

"The audience is involved in this, whether they want to be or not," Mania said. "If they come to the play they're at ground zero for the zombie attack."

Mania, who wrote and directed this original production, said his story features the classic set-up: A group of people find themselves under attack by zombies in an enclosed space, in this case the Majestic Theatre. The cast of human heroes can use whatever is at hand to fight off the living dead.

"We've got 10 speaking parts and zombies," Mania said, and he joked about the actors playing the zombies: "It's easy for them to learn their lines."

The cast, which rehearsed two months on the play, is a mix of veteran actors such as Dorrie Board and community theater newcomers such as Danny Senecal and Rachel Williams.

Williams said her character is the leader of a small group of friends.

"She definitely wears the pants, so to speak, but has a soft side as well," Williams said. "She takes control of each situation as it happens, and does her best to ensure her compatriots are at ease."

The rest of the cast is filled out by Karen Wohlwend, Anthony C. Acquilano, Catalina Bohna, Sarah Kendall, Erica Kendall, James Gottlieb, Daniel Chavarria, Katie Detlefsen and Brent Simon.

"Wait for the Blackout" is one act straight through, so any tension that builds up wont' be broken by an intermission.

And the zombie madness won't be restricted to just the main stage. The cast takes advantage of the entire venue, with action and gruesome effects happening all around the audience, in the lobby, or backstage.

Mania wrote the play six years ago, when he lived in Washington state. He said his goal is to give the production a creepy B-movie vibe that he hopes lingers with audience members well after the show ends.

"I try to make the most out of the fact that you're there. Stuff could splash on you and it's a couple feet from you, live or undead in this case," Mania said.

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