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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea part 4 of 4

Size: 7.81M Duration 17:03

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You know who tends to get all the glory in theatrical productions? Actors. You know who really does all the work? Technicians.

Tony Fuller on Foley sound effects
Tony Fuller is upset about not getting more glory.

Especially in audio drama, all actors have to do is show up and read their lines. We even get our scripts on stage!

Bob Zimmerman, audiomancer.
Bob Zimmerman is unimpressed by your reading skills.

Sure, acting requires diction and timing and the ability to convince an audience that you are a person other than the one you really are, but without the music and without the sound effects the giant squid just ain’t gonna attack The Nautilus.

Alton Leonard on music.
Alton Leonard can’t hear the actors complaining because he’s busy making music.

Plus, they’re the only ones who know which wires to plug into which other wires. Also, amplifiers are heavy. And ARTC brings a lot of stuff with us to our performances because you never know what you’re gonna need.

Giuliana Ward on recorded SFX
Giuliana Ward is too happy to be mad at actors for hogging the spotlight.
Giuliana Ward on recorded SFX.
Just kidding! She’ll cut you if she gets half a chance!

So the next time you’re at an ARTC performance, be sure to thank the technicians! (Also the floor manager, not pictured). It’s their show, too!

Bob Zimmerman and Alton Leonard with David Benedict
Making the magic happen. The magic of RADIO!
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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea part 3 of 4

Size: 10M Duration 17:46

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Sometimes in the podcast we give credit to the lighting designer. This may seem strange to listeners who have never seen us perform live because it’s not like we’re showing a video of the performance. Why would we give a credit to the lighting designer when you can’t see their work?

Daniel Taylor, Clair W. Kiernan, and Daniel W. Kiernan
Here’s some of their work. Happy now?

Because at a live performance, the lighting can enhance even an audio experience in ways that are difficult to describe. In Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea the characters are often underwater, outside of the Nautilus. During those times they can’t easily speak to each other, which makes dialogue challenging.

When we adapt H. P. Lovecraft, there often isn’t any dialogue at all, and so we just make some up. But in this case the passages where the characters are underwater are filled with lush descriptions of undersea life and landscapes that many of us will never see. We couldn’t just leave them out completely, nor could we make up dialogue that the other characters could never hear.

So we decided to create a music bed and have the characters each share their own perspective on what they were seeing through a triptych of interwoven monologues. In those instances the lighting helped the live audience adjust better to the transition.

Robert Drake
Robert Drake: Lightmaster

That lighting design is nearly always done by our host at the Academy Theatre, Robert Drake. So the next time you come out to see ARTC perform live anywhere where we have control over the lights (we usually don’t at our convention performances), ask if Robert’s around! And thank him for all his work!

ARTC’s next live show is at the Academy Theatre in Hapeville on March 28-29, 2015!

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Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea part 2 of 4

Size: 10.5M Duration: 18:04

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When writing the script for Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, David Benedict and Brad Strickland had two major problems to overcome. The first was compressing a novel-length work of genius by Jules Verne into an hour time slot. That was solved through vicious editing.

The second problem? There are no women in Verne’s tale of the sea and ARTC has been blessed with a number of extremely talented actresses. It would have been a crime to leave them out entirely. So, artistic liberty was applied. First, it was decided that Conseil, Professor Arronax’s faithful companion, would be a woman. Second, a new female member of the crew would be introduced.

Clair Kiernan as Conseil and Kelley S. Ceccato as Navigator Aznar
Clair Kiernan as Conseil and Kelley S. Ceccato as Navigator Aznar

Captain Nemo’s crew is not mentioned heavily by name in the original work. They are clearly vital to Nemo’s voyage under the sea, and he values them greatly. No, he reveres them. But precious few individuals are named. This gave Strickland and Benedict an opportunity to introduce audiences to one, who just happened to be a woman, and also to allow the audience an opportunity to track the progress of the Nautilus as Navigator Aznar announces the submarine’s position at the beginning of many scenes.

One thing that was very important, however, was that Aznar not be relegated to the “love interest” of the play. The only love interest that is present in the script, as well as the original novel, is Nemo’s love of the sea – of its beauty and what it can provide if it is respected.