Help the Scooby gang save the town from a mad scientist!

Oct 22, 2020 by

Masquers’ Haunted Walk-Thru at North Reading High School this weekend

Published October 22, 2020

By MICHAEL GEOFFRION SCANNELL

HAUNTED PREP. Masquers officer Molly Giunta edits scripts on her laptop (in foreground) while Christina Musgrave rewrites a scene for the Scooby Doo mystery theme for this weekend’s Haunted Walk-Thru. (Courtesy Photo)

NORTH READING — A Scooby Doo Mystery is the theme of the Masquers’ Club Haunted Walk Thru on Friday, Oct. 23 and Saturday, Oct. 24.

The walk thru will be open from 6:30-9:30 p.m. on Friday and from 5:30-9:30 p.m. on Saturday in the upper parking lot of North Reading High School, 189 Park St.

Masquers co-President Rachel Schladenhauffen, a North Reading High senior, said the walk thru is not scary. She said it is suspenseful at times as well as funny, silly and entertaining.

“The show is rated G,” Schladenhauffen assured Masquers’ fans, in keeping with the family-friendly nature of the event. “The general theme of the show is that good can triumph over evil if we work together. We hope that message will translate to how we as a community can overcome this virus working together, and ultimately we want to provide a light of hope to shine through these dark times.”

The event will feature more than 20 skits. The Masquers will tell the story of a mad scientist who wants to take over North Reading. As audience members walk around the perimeter of the high school, they will watch each two-minute skit.  Each socially-distanced walking tour will take between 45 minutes to an hour to complete.

Due to negotiations about what the rules for this event might be, the students were not allowed to publicize the Haunted Walk Thru until last week. To comply with current safety regulations, the audience must sign up ahead of time for a performance slot and pay online.

Tickets are $10 per person and children under the age of 2 are free. Patrons are asked to arrive not more than 10 minutes ahead of their time slot. To order tickets, go to www.masquers.weebly.com/haunted-walk-thru.

Masks and social distancing are mandatory. No food will be sold and attendees will be prohibited from using the high school’s restroom. There will be handicapped-accessible parking.

High School Theater Arts Director Allison Kane said members of the Masquers worked on the scripts for the original spoofs. She said original lines were taken from famous scenes or situations and adjusted to fit their show. The students studied both mime and pantomime along with basics blocking to put each skit together.

“To adhere to COVID regulations as well as save their voices from yelling outside all night long, we have recorded all the lines ahead of time,” said Kane.

Kane also helped guide each group, outlined key points and helped the student-actors find the right lines.

Schladenhauffen said the students compiled audio from the various media in which their characters have appeared and they have been given creative license over how to use those clips.  

“So while they did not write the words in the script, the storyline of the skits is completely the work of the students,” explained Schladenhauffen.  “I don’t want give anything away, but these skits will certainly put a new spin on some classic fairy tales!”

Schladenhauffen assured potential patrons that even though the audio is pre-recorded, actors and actresses will still be wearing masks and following social distancing guidelines.

“Not to mention that the show will be far easier to hear over some speakers,” said Schladenhauffen. “Students have had a wonderful time experimenting with this new medium of art, from putting together the audio to synching the projections. It is quite an unconventional year and I know that we students are extremely grateful to be expanding our creative outlets in this way.”

Cast members and their scenes in the Haunted Walk Thru are as follows:

Mad Scientist: Class of 2023 member Colin Chin

Scooby Doo: Class of 2024 member Abby Lilley

Velma: Class of 2021 member Leyla Rzakhanov

Daphne: Class of 2022 member Christina Musgrave

Fred: Class of 2023 member Mason Murray

Oogie Boogie and Sally: Class of 2023 members Jake Garniss and Lucy Wagner

Hansel and Gretel: Class of 2024 member Aiden Patel and Class of 2023 member Annie Kuperstein

Snow White: Class of 2021 member Brenna Barry

Beetlejuice’s Adam and Barbara: Class of 2024 member Fahd Benhafounte and Class of 2023 member Anabelle Mahoney

Queen of Hearts: Class of 2021 member Anna Balin

Rex and Jessie: Class of 2023 members Kai McMeniman and Katie Leach

Skeleton Dance: Class of 2023 members Sophia Lee, Alison Duff, Caroline Salvatierra and Lindsay Mills

Jazz Trio: Class of 2021 members Anthony Juliano and Kevin Shang and Class of 2022 member Wes Fisher

Maleficent: Class of 2021 member Rachel Schladenhauffen

Ghostbusters: Class of 2022 member Caroline Schladenhauffen and Class of 2024 member Brain Conlon

The Three Pigs: Class of 2024 members James Dillon, Olivia Delin, Mariela Giraldo and Caroline Burton

Dr. Facilier and the VooDoo Queen: Class of 2022 member Steven Fleury and Class of 2024 member Piper Kirwain  

The Haunted Walk Thru’s dancers from The Dancing School are:

Captain Hook and Peter Pan: Class of 2021 member Preston Lydotes and Class of 2024 member Dylan Mills

Old Time Ghosts: Class of 2022 member Eddie McNeil and Class of 2023 member Betsy Lydotes

Hocus-pocus: Class of 2021 member Erin Davis

The dedicated and hard-working tech crew members are Alison Rabideau, Molly Giunta, Gianna Naulivou, Sophie Donovan, Fiona Ligor, Jason Zecher, Dee Grew, Max Murray, Chris Vitale, Maddie Vant, Turfa Sarfaraz, Katie Musgrave, Kiara Lord, Meg Carey, Meg Regan, Dan Casey, Georgia Robarts and Leah Damphousse.

While working to put the show together, rehearsals have been full of laughter. In the tech shop, the smell of fresh coats of paint wafts through the air along with the hum of drills being used. The fall air is crisp and the wind whistles quietly under the audio of the speakers. There is the rustling of costumes being tried on and every so often Kane will shout “Yes!” when they find the perfect one.

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