Wednesday, December 18, 2013

No Small Parts...

Well, we're back at it again. Dave's had an idea floating around in his noggin for quite awhile -- I like to blame Orson Welles, but I could probably blame him for 1/4 of Dave's schemes -- and it's finally getting implemented. Last week, we had a cold reading for an old 1939 Christmas eve radio presentation of "A Christmas Carol" which we'll be putting a modern twist on.

See, several Ilion Little Theater members have chatted for awhile that it would be fun to put together a podcast, and Dave's thoughts went in this direction. I love the idea of taking a classic written in the 1840s, then performed for the TV-less audiences of 1939, finally producing it for an audience from 2013. Consider the evolution! From written word to public readings (Dickens was known for 'em) to plays to movies to radio (and more movies)...and, finally, to the interwebs! I'm sure it's probably been done in this modern capacity before, but not with our friends at the ILTC.

I didn't really know what to expect from the sit-down reading. I knew that the first priority is to have fun (as with most theater). The second is to put on a stellar performance, which became easier and easier as we heard the voices emanating from our fellow performers -- our Scrooge is impeccably cantankerous without being cloying; our Cratchit is perfectly warm-hearted yet full of the neuroses only having Scrooge as a boss can create; our Marley is deep, booming, and a tad bit terrifying; our our tiny Tim is adorable and heartbreaking (although being played by -- get this -- the same fellow who voices Marley!!! I laughed so damn hard, but his performance was truly inspired!); Cratchit's wife is so convincing as a worried (and later, mourning) mother that it's difficult not to cry along with her (I play her daughter, although she's only a little older than myself); there are several more incredible performers, but you get the point. The better a performance it is, the more fun it is.

The third point seemed to be an unspoken, yet quite known one. Given the show's history, and the integrity of the work, we knew that it must evoke the Christmas spirit. Needless to say, the seriousness we're all taking the performance with is humbling. Considering that we needn't any costumes or lights or sets or even literal sounds (our sound guy is using downloaded tracks, yay!), we hope to at least make the show come alive for any and all who listen to it.

So, if all goes according to plan, we'll be recording in one fell swoop (all at once, no stopping, just like a radio performance) then uploading the whole shebang to iTunes for listening before Christmas.

While this wasn't my idea of a "return to stage", I'm glad to be back at it. And, yes, it's a very small part -- but, what they say is true. Plus, we only needed to get a sitter twice! That being said, I plan on returning to the stage in earnest with one show next season.

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