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‘The Zombie Life: A Seminar for Humans Seeking Conversation’ to be Performed on W&L’s Campus The play, written by Professor Chris Gavaler, will be performed at 7 p.m. on April 6 in Stackhouse Theater.

zombie-life-logo-2023-v3b-350x347 ‘The Zombie Life: A Seminar for Humans Seeking Conversation’ to be Performed on W&L’s Campus
Washington and Lee University welcomes Aura CuriAtlas Physical Theatre’s performance of “The Zombie Life: A Seminar for Humans Seeking Conversation” at 7 p.m. on Saturday, April 6, in Stackhouse Theater, Elrod Commons. The play is free and open to the public.

The theatrical work, which was written by Chris Gavaler, associate professor of English at W&L, is a self-help seminar from a therapist with a unique remedy for life’s hardships: become a zombie. His converted assistants provide testimonials, but as the seminar unfolds, they verge dangerously off script. Should we all convert – or are there secrets to life that even this ultimate therapy can’t cure?

The performance has been made possible by funding from Washington and Lee’s Glasgow Endowment. Following the performance, which addresses a range of topics related to mental health, audience members may engage in conversation with the author, director and cast.

“I’ve wanted to bring the play to W&L for four years,” said Gavaler, “so I’m thrilled it’s finally happening. It’s also a little scary – and not just because of zombies. Expect an entertaining, but very weird and challenging, 70 minutes.”

After an online preview in 2020, “The Zombie Life” experienced its world premiere in 2021 at the Firehouse Theatre in Richmond, Virginia. It was restaged with a new cast in Williamsburg, Virginia for 2023 and will show on W&L’s campus, before returning to Williamsburg for performances at the College of William & Mary April 12-14.

Gavaler, who has served as a member of the W&L faculty since 2010, has written several one-act plays, including five winners of the Pittsburgh New Works Festival. He also had a full-length play about John Wilkes Booth workshopped by Orlando Shakespeare. “The Zombie Life” is his first full-length stage production.

Aura CuriAtlas was founded in 2013 and is led by Gavaler’s sister, Joan Gavaler, who serves as artistic director for the nonprofit performing arts company. Aura CuriAtlas is known for collaborative creation and inventive blending of forms including dance, theater and acrobatics. The company keeps the qualities of lightness (aura), strength (atlas) and play (curiosity) at the center. Their wholeheartedness, risk-taking and use of physical storytelling make Aura CuriAtlas stories meaningful, engaging and thought-provoking. The company has toured in the U. S. and internationally, as well as presented performances and workshops in digital spaces.