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Thursday, December 11, 2008

Looking Through The Kaleidoscope #7: For Your Ears Only


Happy holidays to the Kaleidoscope family and its friends. It's getting to be that time of year where families big and small come together, we all feel the chill of a New England winter, and David and Bobby migrate along with the geese. Yet Kaleidoscope doesn't really stop and this year I am starting to understand that first-hand. My experiences so far have been those of the summer touring, but now I am getting a glimpse of what happens when the weather isn't so hot.

I'm looking at my short-term calender and am realizing that I am lucky enough to be doing more with the company. I'm going to get to do Goldilocks for the very first time as the narrator, and if I am lucky I will be involved with B.U.L.L.Y, which would be my first non-fairy tale show at Kaleidoscope (not that I mind the fairy tales). I've seen B.U.L.L.Y once when I helped film a production of it about a year ago and it's a very different animal in theatrical terms. The interaction is very different with the kids; it is much more personal and there is a particular level of importance in getting the message out to them. I can see why David has such pride in that show and I hope my schedule works out.

But first things first. In the near future I will once again be playing the Huntsman in Little Red Riding Hood's Christmas for a school performance. For those of you who don't know, it's very much like the normal show except two numbers are different and we say "Christmas" a lot more. Looking towards the future and that performance, I remember the first time I was in Little Red.

I believe I mentioned before that I played the Huntsman last summer for one show in Connecticut. That show was particularly fun as I got to work with both my girlfriend and people I had gotten to know well through the company. Plus the shows at Chevrolet usually mean a character lunch, so there is that to look forward to. This particular lunch was interesting because some kids either recognized me from Snow White or had mistaken me from another show. Most of my responses involved a handsome twin.

What stuck out for me the most with that show was this idea that popped into my head while waiting backstage. Once I was done with my lines and such in the first act, I was able to wait backstage in one of the dressing rooms, where a monitor was set up and I could listen to the show. One of the first things that came to my mind was radio drama and that it would be extremely neat if Kaleidoscope did audio versions of their shows.

For those of you who don't know, I am a big fan of radio, particularly radio drama and dramatic readings. One of my favorite parts of the weekend is A Prairie Home Companion, a variety show that has been around thirty some-odd years and is hosted by Garrison Keillor, who also writes wonderful books as well as contributes to the Chicago Tribune. You may not know what he looks like, but his voice is one that clings to you. Along those same lines, one of my favorite television shows from the sixties has been given the audio treatment now and again, the result being sort of like a staged reading except there is linking narration throughout in order to fill in some gaps.

Kaleidoscope has ventured into audio before. You can usually find CDs of Cinderella at the concession stands for any show. Yet something made me think "wouldn't it be so neat to do a whole show on a CD?" I think it would be neat at least, as well as effective. Kaleidoscope fairy tales are pretty much based in the music, and I would think the music is part of the reason families keep coming back every summer. While seeing a Kaleidoscope show is bound to be special for any family, I would like to think listening to one can be just as wonderful. Maybe it is just me, but I know I would have a blast performing a show for radio. For something like this, though, I'd want to be a narrator for any of the shows. Again, it is just a fun idea that I am throwing out there, which anyone with significant pull in the company is free to steal from me. Just remember: linking narration.

As things begin to pick up for me, I'll be sure to fill you all in.

In the words of Garrison Keillor, "be well, do good work, and keep in touch."

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What's your favorite fairytale?