My Wife in Theatre

Recipe Book - Hibiscus Screen Theatre Stage

 

My wife’s background is visual arts & drama. In a past life she has been a Art (the whole Department) teacher, Drama teacher and a Special Education (History & Performing Arts) teacher. Now retired, she has become the directer & founder of the Elliot Lake Roundabout Exceptional Puppeteers. She is also a member of the Jewels of Harmony (four part harmony) singers and a member of Elliot Lake Arts Council (ARIEL).

Exceptional Puppeteers Members Tr
Exceptional Puppeteers Members and Support Staff

You know, when you are married for as long as we have been and are now both retired, somehow certain aspects of one’s lives seem to blend into one another. To put it another way, a little over a week ago I found myself bound for the boards. Perhaps I should explain,……… .

 

 

playbill collage 2M

It begins with the typical things, a need of a driver, a lugger of props & materials, ….. and there is a bit of technical support. You know, a few photos to be taken, a very limited assist with audio editing and digital copies, and perhaps a bit of assistance with image editing and the sort. Gladly given, along with assistance setting up a blog. Nothing out of the range of my limited skills.

Shadow Players1 MT
Shadow Players Scene

Shadow Players2
The Gambler – Shadow Play

Exceptional Puppeteers Poster
Exceptional Puppeteers Poster – Wonderland & Oz Adventure

Mind you, one’s home environment does get somewhat transformed over time. Stage lighting and props invade the garage & house.

Puppets in Bags MTFrx

Puppets start appearing in interesting locations – life size puppets.


Wizard of Oz & Wonderland Rabbit - Puppets
Wizard of Oz & Wonderland Rabbit – Puppets

Well, no matter, it adds a bit of surreal charm to the home’s natural sense of chaos. The singers did invade for a barbecue – the ladies appreciated the cooking and I got to prepare some of my better numbers on the grill. They were really happy as the evening progressed – must have been the sugar in the funny jelly cubes and fruit flavoured drinks. Lots of singing and laughter. And they did come by to sing on Valentine’s Day.

Jewels of Harmony - Valentines Home Tour1 Mt
Jewels of Harmony – Valentine’s Day Home Tour

All in all, an interesting retirement, …… now, a couple of weeks ago is when things got a bit more dramatic. Liz had taken on the role of the Mad Hatter when Cora had to be away for a couple of weeks, then the scarecrow called in with medical issue. It was a Friday and the next performance was at a senior’s manor on the Tuesday. She asked my son – he who is in London – by way of Skype what he would suggest. “ Get Dad to do it,” was his reply.

read it on his face BRtd
read it on his face

So there I sat, watching them set up the stage, and calling up my spirit mentors, Harpo Marx, Red Skeleton and Stan Laurel. There is no dialogue – all prerecorded narrative multi-character voiced by Liz. Let me see,….. to be or not to be.

Stage set-up1 DG

Tuesday evening Liz came in the door and said, “ You have a part in our play.” I had an existential moment of confusion – I was the Scarecrow again. As it turned out the Jewels were putting on a dinner & show Friday and Saturday and there was a need of extra actors.

To Be or Not

Liz had been talking about the up-coming show. It seemed a bit confusing in the initial descriptions. It would primarily showcase the Jewels and a guest quartet, “On The Rocks”. from Sudbury. The theatrical element, as I understood it, was that it would be presented as if it were a live radio broadcast before a live audience.

Radio Show Poster

Now the catch was “back to the 70s”. Not only was there going to be a small cast performing the roles of MC, sound effects man, and radio performers putting on a Old Time Radio mystery, but everyone was to act as if they were back in the 70s. The girls in the chorus would flirt with the MC and the radio performers and all sorts of shenanigans would ensue. In short a play with in a play. How Shakespearean, …… to be or not to be .

Radio Days - Program

Liz said there was no problem. She told them that her husband was an English teacher and could do anything of a theatrical nature,…….. project voice, Italian accent. No need to worry, the “radio script” would be in my hand on Wednesday before the Thursday rehearsal.

Sonnet XXIX

Now as some of you know, I have a fondness for Old Time Radio and radio drama in general. My parents would talk of listening to the old radio shows and the impact it had on them. Back in the early 60s, when I was just turning into a comic-book and science fiction geek, there was a brief revival of radio drama – Lights Out and The Shadow had me hooked. Of course, I could not turn down the chance to perform in a mock radio drama, ………. oh, but who could foresee any complications before the metaphorical curtain went up ?

330115

Well Wednesday arrived, the script did not. I did find out I was to be the butler with a “butlery accent”. There would be an afternoon 2:00 o’clock run through on Thursday, before the evening dress rehearsal. Unfortunately, Liz & I, being typical retired people, had an appointment with the doctor at that time. Well then the script would have to wait till dress rehearsal,…… this was beginning to feel more and more like teaching. You have a lesson plan and then the class walks in and the improvisation begins,……… back to Red, Harpo and Stan. It is a comedy after all and I can imagine the accompanying laughter.

1490 cord

So there I sat, watching them set up the last bit of props on the stage. Liz had created these fantastic Old Time Radio mikes with the call letters that went the stage banners. The Ladies came appropriately dressed in their 70s regalia. I made sure I had a brightly coloured wide tie. And so it began, ………. introducing the cast. A number of us had never met before.  Interestingly, several of the gentlemen had wives who were in the Jewels chorus – quite a coincidence.

IQ Quartet 2 fr
IQ Quartet swings the tunes

Jewels Rehearsal fr
Jewels Rehearsal C – O – R – D

 

 

IQ Quartet1 fr
IQ Quartet swings & sings

All went on, two nights of great music and a bit of laughter to fill the imaginary airwaves. If this should happen again, perhaps with enough advanced preparation portions could be recorded for online consumption. Why do I hear laughter ?

BKtnLaff

The final note, as I said at the beginning, there is a blending of lives. Liz tells me my efforts were acceptable enough that I am now considered community theatre worthy material. I guess they didn’t notice I had the script in my hand, but then it was radio.

Stan and Ollie

Now is the time to check out some other blogs.

This Way Please Card

Hello Fig has a theatrical all star post for you

Robert Lancaster / Burt Mitchum 

The done by hand work on this blog has been inspiring some of my own virtual projects & processes.

 

 

Now Playing LS 12

Over at Fuzzy Photo you will find

Dramatic Dragons in B&W (check other posts for parrots).

 

Now Playing LS 11

Go to Lemony Shots to experience the  poetic & visual that is

That I might fly away

 

Neil Patrick Harris -Theatrical

 

For a Media Literacy look at Broadway and classical music on my other blog  go to see & hear ………

Trans Media Gender Music Values

Existential Friday: MEMENTO MORI & The Shadow

Click image to see enlargement to see all three faces clearly.

Once again dear readers we bring you another Existential Friday. This week’s episode entitled, Memento Mori & The Shadow is brought to by Synchronicity and Memories of Childhood.  This week’s episode begins as usual with your host, messing about on his computer with a variety of photographs, textures, and cascade of ideas & multiple associations. From Antique Angels came a bit of a surprise. An image that resembled the Angel of Death  sort of, um a  little, well  a bit of stretch. Potential was there, but it required work .

Your host began considering what to call, what could possibly be a series of images. How about Memento Mori – a Latin phrase translated as “Remember your mortality”.  Well this blog content stuff can consume you and sometimes you take a break and visit your fellow bloggers to see their latest endeavors . So off your host went to see Syncopated Eyeball and the newest post waiting to greet him was, Drive Safely filed under, ….. Memento Mori.  Hello Synchronicity!

Now, this sign from the digital universal unconsciousness gave me encouragement that the idea wasn’t dead before it started, but something was missing.  Well it just so happened that there was an announcement this week and some advertising to stir up buzz for the new comic version of that great Pulp Magazine and Golden Age Radio man of mystery, The Shadow.  Dynamite Comics were launching a new series of The Shadow.

Now for those of you who are too young  or poorly informed on certain areas of Mass Media cultural history, There is no fictional character to better convey the concept of Memento Mori and a sense of existential choice than The Shadow.

As to our other sponsor, Memories of Childhood, I had the fortune of having slightly older parents than most of my peers. They told me about the growing up in the Golden Age of Radio, when the theatre of the mind was home & family  entertainment.  I knew all about The Shadow, Lights Out and the Martian Invasion and when in the mid-1960’s there was a revival broadcast  of sorts of the old radio dramas  I was ready.

Note: There may be more than three face in my piece, if so they are further signs of synchronicity or The Shadow.

For more information about Pulp Magazines , The Shadow, and Mass Media cultural history see  my post Superheroes Part 1:”It’s A Bird… It’s A Plane… It’s A Target Audience !”  from Media Literacy blog and  my Pulp Heroes Resource Page for Media Literacy Students.

For other explorations of Pulp Magazines on this blog just click the pulp link in the cloud tag. You may wish to start with, Doc WordPress vs. The Phantom Referrers ! .