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November 1st, 2007


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12:21 pm - The apple juice
this post was interrupted last night and subsequently finished this afternoon. see if you can spot where that happened.

Nearly two decades ago, I was sitting alone at the kitchen table around 11:00 at night, quite late for a ninth-grader. I had just finished the first performance of the first full-length play I'd ever been in, You Can't Take It With You. (I played young Tony Kirby in that production, which was my first -- and last -- romantic lead.)

I was thirsty, I'd been talking all night and then I'd been hollerin and whatnot with my fellow castmembers afterwards, so I ransacked the fridge for a beverage. The only thing that looked appealing to me was some apple juice. So I sat down at the table by myself, cold glass of apple juice in hand, and reflected proudly on what I'd just done. It felt good, and it felt like the right thing to do. Apple juice never tasted better.

Other shows followed during junior high and high school and during each and every run I sat down at least once by myself after a performance, in the quiet of the kitchen or dining room or what have you, drinking ice cold apple juice and thinking about it all.

I still do. It's a quiet thing; it's a personal thing. It's my little tradition, something of my very own devising, and a ritual which I keep quite close to me. (I don't think I've ever really told anybody about it until tonight, since nobody ever really needed to know.) A cold plastic bottle of apple juice is right here next to me (as is that bottle of dry red I started after Game 4, but pay it no heed) and I'm reflecting on the run of Tomes of Terror II. If you went, I hope you sure had a good time and if you didn't, well, there'll be other shows so start saving your airfare now.

We closed tonight after three nights of live radio re-creations, with live sound effects and a cast and crew of dozens, the culmination of a project that Neil, Renee and I had begun planning back in April. Since auditions in August the show has taken up most of my creative energy -- hell, it's taken up nearly most of my energy, period, and there've been times where there's just not been any energy. One must soldier on, and grimly soldier on one must. I got a production assistant this year; Calliope stepped up to help. At first, I kept wondering a production assistant? What could I need one for? I don't want her hanging around doing nothing, and I don't wanna be all "YES FETCH US COFFEE POST-HASTE AND SHARPEN THESE PENCILS WHILE YOU'RE AT IT." But just as Neil learned last year between Tomes 1 and Red Shift at Arisia, I learned you gotta have a team. You gotta have someone who's got your back. That way when you're falling over, you're not gonna crash and risk considerable damage to the spine. Calliope was always there, taking care of the little bits, keeping track of costumery and leading rehearsals when I was sick like dog. Some of her observations and influence helped pick the cast up and lifted the entire show up as a result. We got bigger, we got bigger laughs, and I felt so much better knowing there was someone who was here to help. gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gfgf7fgf7gf7gf7gff7gfgf7gf7fgf7g7gfg7

I had a great cast. Every voice was well-placed so that from the first table read, I knew full well all the work would be less on learning how to use the voices and more on the comic timing, the scene interpretations, and the levels of energy. I was so proud of what they'd accomplished up on stage -- like a mama duck, you can only lead your ducklings around so far and then they go off across the street on their own and you hope for the best. The best happened. They were hilarious. They got different laughs every night. I heard of -- and saw -- older couples in the audience, beaming to hear Miss Brooks, Walter Denton, Mr. Conklin and the other beloved characters once again. I loved working with and fooling around with my cast: on opening night, I gave them all "break a leg" Report Cards; on closing night, they gave me a "thank-you" bag containing Colgate Dental Creme and Lustre-Creme Shampoo. (The two products were the sponsors of the program, so I hope it was all a clever tie-in, and not a comment on personal hygiene.)

Renee's Carmilla proved to be the most evocative and powerful piece of the evening. Everybody I've talked to could not stop raving about just how amazing it went over. It definitely was the one you should have listened to with your eyes closed... if you could have. We had a fainter on Monday, even, who -- while the show is not bloody, not gory, not disgusting in the least -- was so overcome by the mood, the atmosphere, the imagery and the voices, that, well, she fainted. After the initial PERFECTLY HUMAN reactions of "Oh my god! Is she all right? What can we do?" and after we learned she'd been revived, was all right, and actually stayed to see Neil's The Stone Ship, our reactions were more along the lines of "Oh, WOW. We had someone FAINT. We must be doing SOMETHING right!"

The Stone Ship was probably the most complicated show technical-wise, but Neil and Shaunna got the Foley team together and created, among other things, an actual rowboat sound effect and Jell-O (again with the Jell-O) to simulate the sound of writhing red tentacles. (The innovation Our Miss Brooks found was that stepping on a pile of Pop Rocks does sound like a pair of glasses breaking, and if you put them in a soda bottle and hold it close to the mic, it sounds like rain.) Dante was a perfect storyteller, and did a great job of spinning the tale.

And now we're done. We don't have a 6:00 / 6:30 pm call tonight. The mics aren't set up anymore. The fx equipment have been put away or disposed of. The cast and crew have moved on to other projects, even if those projects involve Getting Some Sleep For Once. It's all over except for (possibly) some MP3s that may find their way online at some point. The end-of-show high is a powerful uplifter, and the crash afterwards is difficult sometimes to work through. It's always sad to realize that what you just had there for a few nights really was ephemeral, and while you always had a thought in the back of your mind that it'd go on forever, but it turns out it won't.

That's where the apple juice comes in. The accomplishment tastes wonderful.

There's also more projects to work on. We've got three RED SHIFT projects in the future: one, the actual release of the very first serial; two, a brand-new live production for Arisia 2008, and three, production and release of the very second serial. The Post-Meridian Radio Players really have come a long way in two years and every time we come out and present something for the nice people, we find more fans and more friends and more folks who want to step up and help, new voices, creative forces, technical help, it just keeps snowballing and snowballing. We're a red-hot locomotive heading towards Radio Junction, baby, and you best watch us go by or hop on the caboose. And then write me a better metaphor than that one.

(22 comments | Leave a comment)

Comments:


[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:November 1st, 2007 05:16 pm (UTC)
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Your show was wonderful. Can't wait for the next one.

surrealestate and I and a bunch of other folks went reverse trick-or-treating last night, ending up at First Congregational as your show was finishing up. I was carrying cold, non-alcoholic apple cider, and would have poured you a glass had I known about this.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:November 1st, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
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pheromone sneaked me some vodka
From:eclecticavatar
Date:November 1st, 2007 05:30 pm (UTC)
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We do tend to do what we do well. With help!

The three of us are masters, each of our own Universe.
Comic Timing, Musical Atmosphere and Serious Sound Effects.

Next October, we do it again. But I want to go last, this time.
From:katre50
Date:November 1st, 2007 06:23 pm (UTC)
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I have to say, this sounds awesome. When there are MP3s of this, or Red Shift, or whatever, let me know, I'd love to hear it.

Heck, if there are shiny CDs with bright covers I'd kick a few dollars over, even.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:November 1st, 2007 06:58 pm (UTC)
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There may very well be the former available.
The latter, with the exception of RED SHIFT, might not be available for sale due to copyright issues and whatnot.

We'll have to convene a Shameless Pimping Department meeting at some point to figure this out.
[User Picture]
From:fancycwabs
Date:November 1st, 2007 06:45 pm (UTC)
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Congrats on a successful show!

Did you check out The Dead Girl? I plugged it yesterday without giving it an actual listen, and now that I've listened to it, I'm impressed--especially with the cliffhanger.

The author made the mistake of creating a fictional Bloody Springs, LA as a setting for his horrific events, and then setting a couple of scenes in some fictional churches (with fictional Catholic heirarchies) in the very real Mobile, AL, which screws up the whole "willing suspension of disbelief" thing. But only for me.

Still, the cliffhanger is GREAT.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:November 1st, 2007 06:52 pm (UTC)
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Do you like the idea of re-enacting a CBS Radio Mystery Theatre episode? They may be too long for you, though.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:November 1st, 2007 06:56 pm (UTC)
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Well, we may end up doing a mystery for one part of a Spring show (I'd lobby heavily for Boston Blackie or some Nick & Nora Charles, m'self) but yeah, an hour-long episode would probably not sit well on a multiple bill.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:November 1st, 2007 07:01 pm (UTC)
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Probably closer to 42 minutes if you omit commercial breaks, plus I think it started at 5 or 6 past the hour after the hourly network news.
[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:November 1st, 2007 07:04 pm (UTC)
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Ah ah ah, but we do include the commercial breaks. :)
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:November 1st, 2007 07:07 pm (UTC)
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I know, and they're great fun. I can't recall the CBS show having any regular sponsorship, though - just varying spot ads. It's been a while, so I could be wrong.
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 1st, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC)

ahhhhh-SANITY

(Link)
i'm glad all went well. i'm mostly here because i know the comments will be SANE, as opposed to my local newspaper...
[User Picture]
From:radiotelescope
Date:November 1st, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
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I decided to go at literally the last hour -- 7 pm, walking up College Ave, thinking "Am I doing anything at all tonight? Even laundry? I did laundry last night. Isn't the radio show in that church up the next block? Jmac said he was going. I wonder if they're sold out."

It was a great show. Awesome. Keep doing that. (At, you know, decently spaced-out intervals, so that you don't die.)
From:(Anonymous)
Date:November 1st, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
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Um ... didn't you lose your voice by our final performance of YOU CAN'T? Maybe the apple juice wasn't such a good idea ...

Noah

[User Picture]
From:derspatchel
Date:November 3rd, 2007 06:40 am (UTC)
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I do believe my voice was lost due to something called puberty, though I did try gamely to claim it was a cold. But since then I've learned that when it's time to change, it's time to rearrange who you are into what you're gonna be.

Sha-na-na na na-na na na-na!
Sha-na-na na naa!
[User Picture]
From:giantfightbot
Date:November 1st, 2007 10:15 pm (UTC)
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gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gf7gfgf7fgf7gf7gf7gff7gfgf7gf7fgf7g7gfg7

CAT-LIKE TYPING DETECTED!
[User Picture]
From:urban_faerie_
Date:November 1st, 2007 10:43 pm (UTC)
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The colgate and "lustre creme" were most certainly meant in an ironic manner!

Though now that your stressful time is over I hope you will enjoy some of the "relaxing" homeopathic remidies.

You were a great director and I had a ball!
[User Picture]
From:kalibex
Date:November 1st, 2007 10:50 pm (UTC)

I'll buy an Arisia 2008 day pass if I have to...

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...just to hear that new Red Shift ep.
[User Picture]
From:ron_newman
Date:November 2nd, 2007 02:05 pm (UTC)
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I did that for Arisia 2007.
[User Picture]
From:joyeous
Date:November 1st, 2007 11:55 pm (UTC)
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Some of us drink apple juice, some of us dye our hair, and some of us just can't wait to get on lj and tell everyone about it. Here's to all of us, especially (not-so) stealthy cats. *raises nip of strawberry vodka obtained in last night's reverse trick-or-treating*
From:audioboy
Date:November 2nd, 2007 03:11 am (UTC)
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What...wait. You want to do MORE of this stuff? PEOPLE want us to do more of this stuff?

/SFX/ Sound of a Producer passing out
/SFX/ Sound of a thud
[User Picture]
From:kissoflife
Date:November 2nd, 2007 04:52 am (UTC)
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Aww, gee. *wee tear of joy falls*
It felt so good, being useful and looked to for opinions- and then wow, to getting to direct rehearsals! I can't even say how great it all felt. My gratitude to you and the whole cast, and happiness about it all, are overflowing.

I enjoyed it all so darn much, watching all three shows evolve - I wish it were a longer show run!! People asked me why not a Friday or Sat too... seems like a good and welcome idea!


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