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BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!

ZOMBIE5K...yes you read that right. The concept is simple, you go to a specific location in town, choose if you want to be a runner or a zombie and bam, Zombie5k. Being a huge fan of the Zombie subculture I opted to be a zombie. For one I don't like to run, I mean if it were truly the zombie apocalypse you better believe I would be running and wouldn't look back, but for this, the thought of getting to be a zombie and chase unsuspecting joggers (some who would be my friends) through an obstacle course of pure horror and mayhem was an opportunity I could not pass up. So the day arrives and we pack up the car at 7:40 am (what is it with all this early morning stuff, ugh). My friend Clinton Sherwood and I head over to the old abandoned airport in town, which is situated at the top of St. George overlooking the entire town, to meet up with Peter Saide to get zombified. I have to say driving up and seeing the airport for the first time in all its zombie glory was quite the sight. I mean who actually gets to drive down a tarmac or walk around one (besides airport personnel) for that matter? It was magnificent, and they definitely pulled out the stops for this. There were abandoned cars; abandoned buildings, smoking trashcans, huge pieces of debris, and of course a horde of zombies. When we arrived we were sent to a "zombie transformation" tent where we were turned ever so lovingly into members of the undead. I have to say the ladies who did our make-up were quite good and I think we turned out pretty gruesome. After that I was given a HAZMAT suit, which only added to my appearance, and we were lead out of the tent to begin our journey into the world of the undead. From there we met up with our friends Veronica Yeager, Eymard Cabling, and Eric Badique who would be our prey as well as the many others who were participating in the day's event. The rules were simple we, the zombies, could go anywhere on the course and wait. All we had to do was chase people and remove their flags. Sounds easy enough, right?

So we drive out in the car and find the perfect spot, an abandoned building right next to the water station (what better way to catch people off guard). We couldn't have asked for a better spot. We had everything at our disposal: an empty tent to hide in, a large wall to hide behind, and an empty room where we could bang on the air duct to cause fear and alert us that our next meal was coming. The first heat started at 10am and it would be a while till the first group of runners made it to us. Up in the distance we could see our fellow zombies quickly pick off people one by one. If you lost flags along the way there were medic stations where you could pick up new ones. As they rounded the corner towards us Peter readied himself in the room to alert us and Clinton hid in the tent while I took cover behind the wall. It was simple, Peter would alert, Clinton would scare them towards me and we'd pick them off one by one. We had so much adrenalin pumping through us it was quite comical; I mean we were actually nervous, lol. As Clinton and I heard the banging from the air duct we readied ourselves. Our first group made their way around the corner with extreme caution and as Clinton jumped out of the tent the fear that they were experiencing was real and then it all started. People sprinting every which way, to avoid us, but to no avail. I have to say I was very proud of my zombie compatriots, in that first wave of 10 or so we managed to take down more than half, hahahaha. About halfway through the heat our friends Veronica, Eymard, and Eric made it to us. Alas they had succumbed and were dead but Eric still managed to have one flag. I think the others were merely a distraction for us but it didn't stop Peter from chasing Eric down for a good 500 ft. or so. Sadly he escaped (I think Peter went easy on him) but he did get it in the end. As the rest of the heat continued the scene was the same, people thinking they could rest and relax and us taking them down running this way and that. I was actually surprised at how competitive the parents got for their kids. They would actually hold us to stop us from running after them; this however only made it our mission to get their children ever more, which of course we did. I got several, "He's a jerk zombie", sorry kid but all's fair in a zombie apocalypse. My favorite one of the day however was the mom with her two-seat stroller who threatened to run me down, she actually tried to, whom I managed to take both of her flags from. I say next time abandon the kids and save yourself, lol. As we were finishing up our third and final heat of the day we were counting our bounty (about 40 flags) and reveling in our conquest we felt a very great sense of satisfaction. During the second and third heats Veronica, Eymard, and Eric even joined us to act as dead bodies, it was quite the scene.

We looked around and it seemed as if the day was over. Up in the distance we saw a boy on the ground whom we assumed must have tripped and was being attacked by zombies, it wasn't uncommon for that to happen that day, and heard him scream, "Help me". We all had a good laugh at how into it he was. Then he screamed again and then a third time and that is when we knew something was truly wrong. Someone started screaming for a phone. I ran over to hear that he had possibly broken his leg or ankle so I quickly called 911. When I arrived to the little boy there he was curled up in a little ball with tears streaming down his face grabbing at his ankle, which was dangling from a major break, and calling for him mommy, the thought still brings to tears to my eyes. Peter showed up shortly behind me and placed his jacket under his head for support and then headed to the entrance so he could meet the ambulance and bring them to us. As I gave the info to the dispatch another participant sat there stroking his head to calm him while his teacher kept him from grabbing at his ankle. Once I was off the phone I knelt down next to the little boy, whose name I would find out was Lucas, and proceeded to try and calm him down. Now I have no experience in things like this, I wince at the sight of blood, but I just felt awful for this little boy and I knew that I had to say something. Come to find out he was there with a school group and he lived in Vegas so neither of his parents were around to come comfort him. I just kept talking about anything, how old he was, 12. Did he have Brothers and Sisters; I think he said a sister. I told him he was the strongest guy I knew and that nothing would ever hurt this much again. I could see he wanted to scream so I gave him permission, it was truly heartbreaking. I told him he would have the best story ever and that the ambulance was coming. Finally after what felt like an eternity they arrived and prepped him to put him on a stretcher. When they cut away his sock I saw just how truly bad it was. There wasn't bone protruding but it was one of the worst breaks I have ever seen and I hope that I don't see one like this again. As they worked on him I walked away from the scene and a wave emotion came over me. I was doing my hardest not to get caught up in his emotion but once I was done with my part I couldn't help but let it happen. I got a hug from all my friends for a job well done and as they finally put him the ambulance we all made our way back to the tent. I can only assume he is ok as I don't know him or his group. But I am thinking about Lucas and sending that little runner all my strength and prayers.

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BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Clinton Sherwood and I get into character

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Veronica Yeager, Eric Badique, and Eymard Cabling. They look might tasty!!!

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Make-up prep

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Peter's look strikes fear into the hearts of mortal men

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Mom, I think I need to see the nurse

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Lookin' good Peter, lookin' good. You've got something on your forehead, oh never mind.

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Not a bad looking group of zombies if I say so myself

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
The only time we showed them mercy (Clinton Sherwood, Eric Badque, Veronica Yeager, Peter Saide, Eymard Cabling, and myself)

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Hey even Zombies need transportation

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Clinton Zombie of the great outdoors

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Can I help you with your oil sir? (Peter Saide)

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Can I help you with your paint job?

BWW Blog: Jesse Swimm of Tuacahn's MARY POPPINS - Zombies!
Don't mind me, this wall just needs a few touch ups.

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Guest Blogger: Jesse Swimm Jesse, has spent the last 20 years working extensively throughout New York, Nationally, and Internationally. He was Action in Broadway choreographer Joey McKneely's hit international production of "West Side Story". Jesse was also a member of the European tours of "A Chorus Line" and "Grease" for which he was the dance captain and set over 5 companies throughout Europe. Other productions include “High Button Shoes” at the Tony Award winning theatre The Goodspeed Opera House, “Swing”, “Beauty and the Beast”, "Footloose", "Singin' in the Rain", "Jesus Christ Superstar", "Anything Goes", "You're A Good Man Charlie Brown", multiple productions of "A Chorus Line", numerous industrials and a few years at the happiest place on earth, Disneyland. Jesse also completed the role of Bobby in a newly revised version of Kander and Ebb’s “The Rink” at The Cape Playhouse starring Leslie Uggams and was in China for the Macau International Music Festival in “Guys and Dolls”. Jesse was the Dance Captain/Swing on the Cameron Mackintosh/Trevor Nunn/Matthew Bourne National Tour of “My Fair Lady” direct from London’s National Theatre in the West End. Most recently Jesse was a part of the 1st National Tour (original cast) and closing Broadway company of Mary Poppins where he understudied and performed the role Bert as well as the US regional premiere of Mary Poppins at the Tuacahn Amphitheater in the role of Bert. Currently Jesse is playing the role of Nachum the Beggar at the Tony Award winning Goodspeed Opera House.

Jesse has also worked with such legendary Broadway director/choreographer/producers as Cameron Mackintosh, Trevor Nunn, Matthew Bourne, David Marquez, Tony Award Winner Andy Blankenbeuhler, Tony Award nominee Lara Teeter, Michael Butler, and Nightmare Creations duo Melissa Williams and Carla Kama who are choreographers for international music sensation Prince. Jesse, a California State University of Fullerton alumnus, is a proud member of Actor's Equity Association, the union of professional actors and stage managers. He is also the proud dad of a rescue dog, and encourages everyone to open their homes to a four-legged friend.