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30 Years of ARTC – The Dancer in the Dark, Dragon Con 2002

This being our 30th anniversary, we thought we’d dip back into the past and recap some of our previous performances, triumphs and tragedies, in a series of posts. And don’t forget our Chronology! It’s not as detailed, but it really shows the growth of ARTC over the years. You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

In 2002 we presented Thomas E. Fuller’s The Dancer in the Dark. We had no way of knowing it, but this would be Thomas’s final performance with ARTC before his untimely passing in November. We led off the show with the presentation of the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award, with Thomas bestowing it upon Joyce Leigh.

Thomas E. Fuller presents Joyce Leigh with the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thomas E. Fuller presents Joyce Leigh with the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award.

But Thomas was in for a bit of a surprise himself, as David Benedict arose to address the microphone to present a second award that evening. One of the hazards of organizing an award is that sometimes you don’t get it yourself. In this case, we just couldn’t let that happen to Thomas and so the ARTC Board of Directors had voted in secret to present Thomas with the award as well.

Thomas E. Fuller accepts the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Thomas E. Fuller accepts the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Following the award presentation, we dove into The Dancer in the Dark.

Brad Strickland and Alton Leonard in The Dancer in the Dark

Brad Strickland and Alton Leonard in The Dancer in the Dark

The Dancer in the Dark was originally written in five half-hour segments. But those of you familiar with our convention shows know that we’re usually restricted to an hour. So Thomas painstakingly trimmed two and a half hours down to one. It is a testament to Thomas’s skill as a writer that he was able to do so and tell the entire story. The narrative details an archaeological dig and their discovery of the Malatowa Mounds. It starts off with a standard story of the struggle between academic exploration and the traditional beliefs of a small town’s residents, but quickly takes a decidedly Lovecraftian turn as mutilated animals start appearing mysteriously. And then the situation becomes much more serious as the Dancer’s last acolyte tries to raise an ancient evil from the mounds themselves.

Live Foley sound effects demonstrated

Foley artists and actors work together as a seamless whole

In the picture above you can see the Foley artists watching the actors closely for their cues. The creation of live sound effects is one of the most interesting parts of our live performances and is always enjoyed by our audiences.

Our technical team and our audience. Two critical componants of a successful show

Our technical team and our audience. Two critical componants of a successful show

And here you see one of the things that makes our Dragon Con shows so much fun: our appreciative audience! Our following at Dragon Con is quite loyal and we’re always glad to hear from folks, some of whom claim that they come to the convention every year just to see us!

Thomas Fuller and Doug Kaye

Thomas Fuller and Doug Kaye

The Dancer in the Dark is one of our favorite pieces and in 2013 we were finally able to release the full five parts on CD and digital download. But the production was incomplete without Thomas, who normally played Sheriff John Bell Hood Conklin. We miss you, Thomas.