If you're a geek, you'll understand the attraction of Once More With Feeling, the local shadowcast troupe (a group that lip-syncs along with movies or musical performances) that performs at Valley of the Moon, the Zombie Walk and other venues for charity. After talking with its director, Teresa Hewitt, we realized it's about celebrating a special type of geekdom—theater geek, musical geek, gamer geek—combined with a love for everything Joss Whedon, zombie and more. To find out about the group's next season, or to receive more information, visit www.facebook.com/OnceMoreWithFeelingTucson.
How long ago did you start?
It started about four years ago, although for the first couple (of performances), we were called Vampire Bunny Slayers in homage to Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Joss Whedon.
Where do you perform most often?
Well, we started off doing pre-shows ... and grew to performing at different charity events. Really, now everything ends up for charity, which is awesome.
You've been performing regularly at Valley of the Moon. Will that continue?
Absolutely, and we love performing there. They are so nice to us, and they've provided us a regular place to do what we love, and it's a great space.
What is it that people love about shadowcasting?
I think it starts a great deal from kids who do drama. ... I feel like our group is more than just the shows. We've become this wonderful cohesive family that's chosen to put on these performances. My mom calls it taking in all the strays. We have people from all ages, all backgrounds: people who do theater, don't do theater, high school students, college students. But as far as shadowcasting goes, it's an opportunity for someone to be able to participate in a role or a movie that they really love, and pay homage to it somehow.
What are you planning for next season?
Just over this last year, we actually broadened our scope. Now we want to do Once More With Feeling presents Geek Cabaret. We want to try to expand our horizons (and) do a bunch of dance numbers that pay homage to the geekier side of life: video games, going to conferences, things like that—doing what we love for other people who love the same things we love.
I think the show has a cool Comic-Con vibe to it. Does that make sense?
Yes. And actually, this past year, for the first time, we performed at Phoenix Comicon.
How did that happen?
It fell into our laps, to be honest. Some of the shows we've done lately have been like that—I know this person who knows this person—a lot of networking. A lot of us go to the conferences anyway. It was really fun, and it seemed like our audience was really into it.
What else have you done that was new this past season?
We started performing at the Tucson Zombie Walk, which is also for charity, benefiting the Community Food Bank. We did a show to pay tribute to another online show, like Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog show. This one is called Rigamortis: A Zombie Love Story. We asked permission, and they were really excited. We're expanding our repertoire. We also did three short versions of Dr. Horrible for the Zombie Walk.
How do you figure out your material?
I'd love to tell you that there is some brilliant creative process that happens, but, really, we start with the things we love, like Dr. Horrible and Joss Whedon. We often just get together and start brainstorming. There's always an electricity, and we know we're doing the right thing. I'm so proud I get to work with these guys, some great creative minds. I love my cast. I would be nothing without all of them.
How large is the cast?
It's between 20 to 25 right now. I've got a waiting list. A few people drift in and out. A lot of times, I try to bring people into the cast who need to be here. We've become a huge family, and I've discovered that people come here and grow and find new aspects of themselves. We happen to have this awesome thing we all love to do.
So when does your next season start?
We haven't scheduled our next Valley of the Moon show, but we will probably be back in February or March. We'll hold auditions and figure out what cast members are going to play what, and start putting together our Geek Cabaret. But we'll be back, and we want to do more shows for anyone who wants us.