By: Kate Ellis
“Repo! is like sex,” said Casandra LaNeve, first-year community studies student. “If you don’t participate, you can’t come!”
LaNeve’s enthusiasm springs from her role as Shilo Wallace in an interpreted show called a shadowcast of the movie Repo! The Genetic Opera.
At each show, held at Club Saw, audience members are encouraged to participate with a secret word of the night. On Oct. 12, the word was death. When something related to death happened the audience was encouraged to jump out of their seats, yell and freak out.
“If you don’t punch someone, you’re doing it wrong,” said Alis Goddard, who plays Rotti Largo.
In the basement of Club Saw on the first Friday of every month, you can find The Necromerchant’s Payment performing Ottawa’s first and only shadowcast of Repo! The Genetic Opera. A shadowcast is where actors act out their interpretation of a movie while the original movie is playing on a projection screen behind them.
Repo! The Genetic Opera is a horror-comedy-musical released in 2008 and features actors such as Alexa Vega, Paul Sorvino and Paris Hilton. It is based in the year 2056 where an epidemic has caused massive organ failure around the world. A biotech company, GeneCo, offers organ transplants for a fee. If a payment is missed, repossession is initiated and the offender is hunted by Repo Men. People are addicted to plastic surgery and a drug called Zydrate. The drug is used during surgery and can be extracted from people’s skulls after death.
The movie was originally a stage play, titled The Necromerchant’s Debt, where the group got their name.
The production has been around since 2009, often seeing many cast changes. The actors say they usually get involved from seeing the show themselves.
Goddard had first seen the show after a friend had told her about it, and hasn’t missed a show yet.
“I planned a three-week trip to South America around not missing the show,” said Goddard, adding it has become a big part of her life.
The cast meets every Saturday for three hours for rehearsal, and for three hours on show days. Goddard also spends countless hours studying the characters, as she is responsible for teaching new actors their parts.
The actors get involved because they love the movie, and some went to extreme lengths just to see it. Morgan Dunbar, 22, graphic design graduate, who plays Amber Sweet and is co-director, spent $40 on cab fare just to see the movie when it was at ByTowne Cinema for only one week. Patrick Clearly, who plays Nathan Wallace, says the first time he saw the movie, he watched it again.
Other performers are drawn for their love of acting.
“When I was in high school I was the biggest drama kid,” said Alex Blahout, 23, who plays Pavi Largo and has been in the cast for eight months. “Combining that with my love of Repo! was the cherry on top.”
The next shadowcast will be in November at Club Saw for their anniversary show. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/Necromerchants.