shakes fear

An actor poses during a performance of ShakesFear at the Studio Theatre on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2021, in Lincoln, Nebraska.

On Oct. 15, the Nebraska Repertory Theatre held their opening night of ShakesFear performances, scaring the socks off of students and families. 

During this riveting theatrical experience, the audience is sent on a mission to retrieve one of William Shakespeare’s lost plays. To do so, you must go through dark, eerie hallways and encounter frightening creatures and characters inspired by the maniacal mind of the English playwright. The performance, perfect for this time of year, is sure to terrify and entertain audiences who are 13 years and older. 

ShakesFear stands out from your average haunted house because it takes audiences on a journey. Not only do participants get the thrilling jump scares that make haunted houses particularly bone chilling, but it also is the opportunity to watch an expertly crafted theatrical performance. Onlookers are immersed into the story taking place as if even the audience is engrossed in the twisted mind of Shakespeare. 

ShakesFear will scare you just as much as a typical haunted attraction. It has every aspect of a quality, spine-chilling Halloween activity. The ghoulish costumes, monstrous characters, sinister music, creepily-decorated space, dark rooms, flashing lights and shock factor contribute to a hair-raising experience. Grown men and women could be heard screaming and yelling out obscenities while they winced and shuddered in fear, grabbing onto each other for comfort. 

Haunted house connoisseurs may not scream in fear because the jump scares are expected, but the performances of the students will still surely entertain the bravest of audience members. 

The actors did an incredible job of captivating ShakesFear-goers before the 15-minute show even began. There were students outside of the building in costume, scaring people as they entered. It really set the tone for what was to come. 

The student scarers inside of the Temple Building were enthralling, delivering an incredibly convincing performance. They each played different roles, much like a real play at the theatre, while simultaneously making the audience jump and scream at every turn. 

They did a great job of making their petrifying characters come to life, creating a world and experience that felt all too real. Their acting skills contributed to the story as well as the expedition the audience was taken on to reclaim Shakespeare’s play. The talented student actors are what transformed the show into more than just a regular haunted house. 

This “immersive theatrical experience” will run until Oct. 31 at the Studio Theatre, which is located on the first floor of the Temple Building. The performances last 15 minutes, and there are multiple start times each night. Tickets are $15 for students and $20 for adults. Masks must be worn during the show. To purchase tickets or find more information, you can visit the Nebraska Repertory Theatre website.

ShakesFear is an encapsulating and wonderfully macabre attraction, in which both audiences and actors are given the chilling opportunity to double double toil and make trouble at the Temple building to the tune of the one and only William Shakespeare.