Tuesday, December 12, 2006

The Shadow returns and Christmas at the Liberty Theatre.

The Shadow is rising from the grave. Or at least from the garbage bin in Hollywood. Sam Raimi, Evil Dead genius and Spider-Man director, has gotten the right to produce The Shadow for Columbia Pictures. The Shadow was an old time radio show that starred Orson Welles for a time. Since Bratch has gotten me hooked on old time radio, it is one of my favorite shows. Click on the link to read more about it.

This brings me to our church’s annual Christmas program. In the past since we were kids, we always did a Christmas play at our church on the Sunday before Christmas. The last play we did was not very good, at all, so last year we did a program of readings. It went a lot better and was so much easier and less stressful to pull off, especially without memorizing pages of lines. This year, we decided to kind of do the same thing.

That is until I had my brainstorm of an idea, and this is where we come full circle to The Shadow. I thought it might me cool to do an old time radio version of our Christmas program. I thought we could record our readings, have a choir sing, and have an announcer to tie everything together. The setting is Hollywood and all of your favorite stars are in the program. Bratch and I are doing a two page play set in a library and the announcer reminds the audience at the end of our piece that you can look for us in the MGM production of Chinese Checkers.

It seems like a great idea, it’s different, it’s weird and it will have a good message. Once we record everything, Bratch will just play it over our church’s speakers. Our aunt will portray a grandmother gathering the kids around the radio for some Christmas cheer. At two points during our telling of the Christmas story from the gospels, there will be a microphone set up off to the side and the kids will sing Away in a Manger and Go Tell It on the Mountain. We even have a great old radio as a prop. Otherwise there is nothing to watch. I am depending on the audience being able to stay focused and not want to go to sleep or wander off during the program.

I can’t say I haven’t had second, third, and fourth thoughts about the presentation. To make matters worse, Bratch’s brand new iBook is cheating us by placing a buzzing noise under our recordings so we only have about 20% of the play recorded, with no choir and we are days away for show time. We think we have the kinks worked out in the recording and hope to get the choir and all the lines recorded on Wednesday. Otherwise we will go live and perform it like I imagine they did in the 30’s-50’s and just do it in front of the audience. But I would still keep my aunt and the kids listening to the radio and just put the actors on the opposite side of the “stage.”

I hope things work out and I hope it is something that people will enjoy. Maybe next year we will pull out the stops and do a whole old school “live” radio show in front of a live studio audience. I am also hoping that we are able to burn the show on cd so anyone who wants a copy can have it. As I write this, it seems like it may have been a bigger production than if we had just done a play. Well, I guess we will find out on Sunday night.


Travis said...

Here's my thoughts. If I'm in the audience, sitting there watching kids listen to a radio ain't going to do it for me.

Maybe you can work in a few lines where the kids say stuff to each other or their mom. Either way, you're going to need something.

Just because you're into old time radio doesn't mean everyone else is.

BRATCH said...

I see your point, but you have to remember that about 75 percent of our congregation remember listening to the Shadow in the 40's. LOL

Piccu said...

That's true, most of our members are in their 80's. I have run this by some and they seemed to be excited about it. Maybe they are excited to see it bomb, but when you are an artiste you cannot be afraid to fail. Those who are afraid to fail become accountants. Or something like that.

my_merlin77 said...

I kind of agree with Travis to a point. I think it will be tough to a keep peoples sustained attention for an entire play. I do very much like the idea though and like the idea of writing out your own Christmas plays as part of it. I think plays of the calber that are usually in the Sunday school books can easily be surpassed.

Definitely stick with the idea of a Christmas play writing but next year you can get an earlier start on it. I would love to help with that.

Piccu said...

You live 1000 miles away from here. Are we going to email and fax drafts back and forth? I can't work like that.

And I think Travis has scared Bratch with his poo-pooing and now we are going to do it live as an old time radio show. So now the audience will see us reading. That will be much better!

my_merlin77 said...

what are you talking about, ever hear of the in'-ter-net. We can easily email things.

I think the radio part is a good idea, but it needs to be a modest part of the show.

I'm telling right now, I am ready to unleash my creative genius onto a Christmas play.

BRATCH said...

The only reason I decided that doing it live would be a good idea is because during the poem or whatever it is that Julie read during Sunday school I zoned out myself. That and doing it this way is less work for me.

Besides this will be good practice for when we do a full production next year.

I think we should do the big play we did a few years ago when Pat broke out of the pen and dressed up like a woman. It was a Festivus miracle that we pulled that off.