Haunts of EC Bus Tour

UWEC Players combine scares with improv comedy

Eric Larson

If there was one thing Sam Raimi (director of Drag Me To Hell and the Evil Dead series) did well, it was balance. After cleverly composing a series of well-planned scares in his movies, he’d be sure to add a quick dose of humor. Nothing big, really. Just a small joke to “soften the blow” of the scare and add some variety. After all, terror and laughter compliment each other.

Using a similar principle, the UWEC Players will once again present the Haunts of Eau Claire Bus Tour, where they say audiences will find themselves laughing as much as screaming.

“It’ll be spooky,” said Siri Brobst, president of the UWEC Players. “But really, it’s as much a comedy show, too. People can expect a great mix of history, folklore, and improv.”

The tour, which started last year, will carry a busload of brave passengers to the most notoriously haunted destinations in the city, including two cemeteries, Stones Throw, and Carson Park. Tyler Morris, the previous president of the Players, spent hours last year researching the creepiest corners of the city to create the event, Brobst said.

“This whole thing is really (Tyler’s) baby,” she said with a laugh.

Eight actors from the Players will be working as characters, either on the bus or at the haunted destinations. Last year’s characters included Amy Winehouse and John Wayne Gacy, to name a few, which again speaks to their combination of comedy and the macabre. The actors use the travel time on the bus and transitioning from one character to another in delivering information (think broadcast news banter) for improv opportunities, which play off their sense of the group as much as each other. And because several of last year’s tours were packed with college kids and hip young professionals, the improv skewed on the adult side of things.

The tour lasts between an hour-and-a-half and two hours. Aside from being an entertaining tour of the city, it also proves an educational look at the haunted history of landscape that surrounds us – a perfect way to celebrate the season. “It’ll definitely be fun!” Brobst said.

Tours will take place Oct. 28-30, at 7 and 9:30pm at Kjer Theatre on campus. Tickets are $10 for students and $15 to the public.