Janet Weber interview
Thursday, October 28, 2021 – 1:55 a.m.
Janet Weber is a Yoknapatawpha Players actress.
She was transported from the scene to the Yoknapatawpha County Sheriff's Department, where Detectives Magee and Beckwith talked to her.
- Detective P. Beckwith
- Detective J. Magee
- Janet Weber
Detective Magee: Ms. Weber, thanks for speaking with us tonight.
Janet Weber: Okay.
Detective Magee: I'm Detective Magee, and this is Detective Beckwith. We'd like to ask you some questions about the incident tonight. Could we get your name and address for the record?
Janet Weber: My name is Janet Faye Weber. I live at 3013 Bradley Cove, Apartment #4, in Oxford.
Detective Beckwith: What do you do in the show?
Janet Weber: I'm one of the actresses.
Detective Beckwith: Were you acting in the rehearsal today?
Janet Weber: Yes, I was playing the role of a research assistant to Anna Kessler's character, who was an Army medical researcher looking for a cure for a zombie virus.
Detective Magee: Okay, take us through today's events, starting from when you arrived at the theatre.
Janet Weber: The show was starting at 6:00 p.m., so I got to the warehouse at about 5:00 p.m. to get ready. Since I didn't have the elaborate makeup some of the others had, I didn't need to be here any earlier.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see Scott Bryant before the show?
Janet Weber: No. He was either in makeup or somewhere backstage at times when I wasn't.
Detective Magee: Where were you at the beginning of the show?
Janet Weber: I was in the opening scene. The audience, which was only four of our five board members, was told initially that they were residents of a small Mississippi town in Yoknapatawpha, which was overrun by zombies. For their safety, they would be admitted into a logistics support camp for the U.S. Army, called LSA Cottonmouth.
Detective Beckwith: Your character told the audience members this?
Janet Weber: No, the actor Weston Naboa was playing a soldier who briefed the audience at the beginning.
Detective Magee: What was your role?
Janet Weber: When Weston told audience members Heath Rushing and Neal Caine to go with Anna and I to create a serum that would serve as the zombie cure, I led the group to the camp mortuary.
Detective Magee: Why?
Janet Weber: It was part of the play. The audience members were to get a blood sample from an infected body to create the serum.
Detective Beckwith: Infected body?
Janet Weber: A special-effects cadaver body that our crew made specially for a blood draw.
Detective Beckwith: Did the audience members go along with the script?
Janet Weber: No. Things started going wrong.
Detective Magee: How?
Janet Weber: Just before we left for the mortuary, Naboa's character got surprise-killed by a zombie, mid-sentence—
Detective Beckwith: And that wasn't supposed to happen?
Janet Weber: Naboa's killing was in the script, so that was supposed to happen, but on our way to the mortuary, Heath was jibber-jabbering about Naboa, zombie eyes, and oceans of blood. That's when I realized he was high as a kite.
Detective Magee: You mean on drugs?
Janet Weber: Yeah.
Detective Beckwith: What drug?
Janet Weber: Search me. But it put him in a tizzy, and he was babbling about how everyone was going to die.
Detective Magee: Did you think about stopping the rehearsal at this point?
Janet Weber: It wasn't my place to make that call. It was Anna's. She went on to the mortuary, and we followed.
Detective Magee: Okay, then what happened?
Janet Weber: We went into the mortuary, and I gave Neal the syringe to draw blood from the cadaver. That's when just out of the blue, Heath screamed, "We gotta go, we gotta go!" and he grabbed the cadaver's arm and ripped it off!
Detective Beckwith: What did he do with the arm?
Janet Weber: He knew that we were going to the mobile hospital lab next, so he ran out of the mortuary toward the lab, still screaming, 'We gotta go!"
Detective Magee: Did you catch up to him at some point?
Janet Weber: Yes, we got to him at the lab door. He was just standing there looking at the arm like he forgot that he was in a panic seconds before.
Detective Beckwith: Did you say anything to him?
Janet Weber: I told him that I'd take the arm.
Detective Magee: Did he give it to you?
Janet Weber: Yes. We went on with the show. During the next act, the script called for an audience member to possibly be infected with the zombie virus, making it necessary to quarantine him in a small room in the lab.
Detective Beckwith: Which audience member was it supposed to be for the rehearsal?
Janet Weber: It was supposed to be Heath. The idea was that the action of the play would be on Neal during the mortuary scene and then Heath during the lab scene. That way, both audience members would have a central role at some point in the show. Heath's unexpected antics in the mortuary really gave me pause to have him play the central role in the lab.
Detective Magee: Did you go with the original plan, then?
Janet Weber: Yes, but we shouldn't have. During the scene, Anna told me to quarantine Heath, so I put him in the quarantine room at the back of the lab, and that's when he panicked again.
Detective Magee: How so?
Janet Weber: After a few minutes or so, he started screaming and banging on the door.
Detective Beckwith: Was he locked in?
Janet Weber: No. He was just blitzed out of his mind. I didn't have time to let him out either. The play called for a zombie ambush of the lab which forced me out the back door into the arena area of the camp.
Detective Beckwith: So Heath was left in the quarantine room?
Janet Weber: Yeah.
Detective Magee: Did you see Scott Bryant during the zombie attack on the lab?
Janet Weber: I couldn't tell for sure if he was one of the zombies if that's what you mean.
Detective Magee: So the zombie attack spilled out into the open area of the camp. What happened next?
Janet Weber: My character was supposed to work her way back to the rear of the camp where a maze was set up. My character was supposed to be attacked and zombified in front of the maze and dragged backstage. There, I got into makeup and returned as a zombie for the final scene.
Detective Beckwith: Before you became zombified, who was near you in the open area of the camp?
Janet Weber: Martin Vargas's soldier character yelled for everyone to hide, which was part of the script. I ran behind a couple of crates. I saw Neal and Anna run by me and hide, and I saw Martin fighting the zombies.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see Scott as a zombie then?
Janet Weber: No.
Detective Magee: So you eventually get mauled by a zombie and dragged backstage. Can you identify the zombie that mauled you?
Janet Weber: Sure, the script called for Woody to do it.
Detective Magee: Did Woody assist you backstage with your zombie makeup?
Janet Weber: Not really. He just sped off to harass the audience members in the maze.
Detective Beckwith: Did you see anyone else backstage?
Janet Weber: Only Anna, who came back later after her character got zombified. We were both supposed to sneak attack the audience members at the evacuation point at the end of the play.
Detective Magee: From backstage?
Janet Weber: Yes, there's a secret door in the set from backstage into the camp's evacuation point.
Detective Magee: Did the show end there?
Janet Weber: Yes. Neal, Anna, and I were talking about the show afterwards, and all of a sudden, Woody comes running in, saying that Scott needed help backstage. Neal and a bunch of the guys ran to help. I saw that Heath had finished the play at the evacuation point but still seemed high. I stayed with him rather than going backstage.
Detective Beckwith: Why?
Janet Weber: He had made a mess of things enough today. If he was going to "help" Scott, I was going to stop him.
Detective Magee: Did Heath try to help?
Janet Weber: No, he just sat in a folding chair until crew members came back to us, saying that Neal called 911. Later, police officers brought all of us back here to the easy lobby and told us to wait for y'all to talk to us.
Detective Beckwith: All right, I think we're all out of questions for now. Would you make yourself available for another interview if we need you to do so?
Janet Weber: Well, I guess, but I already told you everything I know.
Detective Beckwith: It's hard telling what sort of things you might help us with. We may not need you again, or we might have just a couple of questions, tops.
Janet Weber: Okay then.
Interview ended – 2:22 a.m.