Sunday, October 23, 2011

Run For Your Lives! (3 of 3)

Posted by Kurt

He is tall, with very short hair and a generally thoughtful expression.  He wears a tattered suit covered with blood.  She has a beautiful dress, like a glass of champagne, that would be more presentable if not for the occasional bloody stab wound.  Her hair is an enormous frizzy white wig, and it looks like the only part of her costume untouched by blood.  They are ready for prom, and very much in love.  When humans appear, they stand next to each other as they lurch after stragglers, but in their down times, he stands with a hand casually resting on her hip.  In the morning chill, his shredded jacket offers little warmth, but it’s on her shoulders when they don't have to perform.  When her wild hair begins to bother her, he tears a strip of “caution” tape from the end of a barrier so that she can tie it back, and when she wants it to go wild again for a later wave of humans, she ties the tape around her ribs.  In the warmth of the early afternoon sun, they curl up together on the grass, fitting together like pieces of a puzzle.  When a young human woman dashes shrieking through the zombie horde in an.. impractical costume.. the zombie prom date turns to her boyfriend and mutters an observation about the runner’s motivations for her wardrobe choice, then gives him a grin that is made just a bit more charming by the shine of fake blood that covers her jaw, neck, and chest, like she has just aggressively imbibed spiked punch directly from the bowl.  From time to time between waves of runners, the zombies making small talk will glance at the prom couple and confirm to each other that we are all completely in love with them.

I loved the costumes at this event.  There were plenty of scary zombie costumes - medical personnel drenched in fake blood, insane clowns, a birthday child carrying a pleasant but blood-speckled helium balloon (connecting the innocent to the macabre), a college professor with blood all over his tweed jacket, a few zombie brides without grooms, a ZomBallerina (hands down, the scariest zombie there), a zombie dragging an empty leash and groaning for her lost dog.  I expected something theatrical and great, and I was impressed by the work that went into the zombies.
What really surprised me was the creative costuming by the waves of humanity.  A few people looked like participants in any other race, which is fine.  Many more people, though, dressed in costumes.  Two women wore co-ordinated Thing 1 and Thing 2 t-shirts (I was sad at the prospect of one outliving the other).  A team of runners wore matching grey shirts adorned with, “Eat ___,” the blank space being filled with the name of someone else on the team, which made me laugh out loud.  Runners wore t-shirts with “Eat this!” on the back, or geeky t-shirts with statements about hunting zombies or understanding zombies (“Zombies just need a hug!”).  Superhero costumes were popular, especially for men who wanted to wear Wonder Woman’s outfit for a day.  Ninja turtles wandered through the crowd, and at least one matador.  A group of people dressed as gory versions of fast food mascots.  I ran at 2:00 with a guy in a scary clown suit who carried large balloons that he used to block zombies who grabbed for his flags.  I think my favorite costumes were the guys in huge banana suits (because, in theory, zombies don’t eat plants, which was a level of thought and dedication that I wasn’t expecting).  
The pervasive costumes elevated the day for me.  I didn’t participate in this race to see how good a runner I was, or to enjoy the surprise of an obstacle course, although I liked those elements.  I showed up in the morning to participate in performance art.  I wanted to be part of a space where it was safe to play pretend for a while, to be someone new among like-minded people.  And I got it to a degree I hadn’t anticipated.  The day was a bizarre, gory, hilarious, surprising nightmare, and I loved it.

No comments:

Post a Comment