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31 Years of ARTC: The Last Dragon to Avondale 2010

Continuing our look back at ARTC’s 31 years (thusfar!) with photos from our live performances. You can get a look at our whole history of combining adventures in sound with the thrill of live performance in our Chronology!

In this installment we bring you our appearance at the Academy Theatre in October 2010 where we performed The Last Dragon to Avondale along with The House Across the Way, featuring music by Brad Weage and Paul Mercer, and Rory Rammer, Space Marshal: The Colour of the Shadow of the Outsider Over the Mountains of Madness Out of Space. This performance was a benefit for Georgia Aquarium (it was one of our first benefit performances, in fact!) and also included special musical guest Rooke! Check out all the pictures on our Flickr album.

In 2010 we debuted our Partners in Imagination program, which strives to harness the power of multiple non-profit groups into something stronger by raising awareness amongst our various audiences and maybe even a little money as well.

Megan Tindale and Brian Troxell

Psst…there’s not a lot of money in this…at least not yet.

We had originally wanted to do this benefit for Georgia Aquarium with Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, but it became apparent very quickly that the script wouldn’t be ready in time, so we switched gears to The Last Dragon to Avondale. We felt that its focus on an “endangered species” made it a great fit.

Andrew Chiang and Sonya Arundar

“You keep telling yourself that, ok?”

Plus, we’d been performing at the Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates for a while at this point and to NOT perform this piece there would have been a crime against … well, a crime against something. Dragons, maybe.

The audience for

We got a good turnout, too!

We also had the privilege of working with some amazing musicians on this piece. There was Brad Weage.

Brad Weage

The very serious Brad Weage

Paul Mercer on violin. This was Paul’s first appearance with us!

Paul Mercer

The equally serious Paul Mercer

And our special musical guest, Rooke! Rooke has been around since the late 1980s and play a kind of (in their words) acid folk. We couldn’t quite get the whole band for this show, but we were thrilled to get Steven Sams, David Cater, and Keena Graham!

Steven Sams, Keena Graham, and David Cater

The not-quite-so-serious Rooke!

Rooke actually released an album of the recordings from this performance, so go get some great music!

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31 Years of ARTC: The Call of C’thulhu 2009

Continuing our look back at ARTC’s 31 years (thusfar!) with photos from our live performances. You can get a look at our whole history of combining adventures in sound with the thrill of live performance in our Chronology!

This week we bring you our appearance at the Academy Theatre in Avondale Estates, which featured our 2009 performance of The Call of C’thulhu by H. P. Lovecraft, adapted for audio by Ron N. Butler. Check out all the pictures on our Flickr album.


 

We’ve performed a lot of different places over the years. Hotel ballrooms. High school auditoriums. Hair salons. But one of our favorites from an acoustic point of view was the Avondale Estates location for the Academy Theatre.

Typical stage setup for ARTC

The stage is set…

Not too big, not too small, well lit, walls made of hard concrete. Well, maybe that last part wasn’t so great, but you can’t have everything.

A portion of the cast of

A portion of the cast of Night Call by Brian Phillips

At our 2009 performance, not only did we bring everyone the cosmic horror that is Lovecraft’s The Call of C’thulhu, we also brought Brian Phillips’s original audio drama Night Call and Kelley S. Ceccato’s The Worst Good Woman in the World!

Portion of the cast of

There’s really only one harmonica player here. But in audio, who can tell?

Tammie Hood and Clair W. Kiernan

Tammie Hood and Clair W. Kiernan. Hats? What hats?

We’ve talked before about how we don’t often do costumes, but every so often we just can’t help ourselves.

Tennille Clayton and Sonya at the Foley table.

High tech Foley. Squishiness comes at a price.

J. E. Hurlburt at the microphone for

Auditions for Lovecraft pieces sometimes consist of just a bunch of screaming.

Be sure to check out our performance calendar to see when you can see us next!

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31 Years of ARTC: Dragon Con 2008 part 1 – The Doom of the Mummy

We spent a good part of last year documenting our last 30 years through photographs of our live performances. But wouldn’t you know it, we ran out of year before we ran out of pictures! So we’re going to continue on! And don’t forget our Chronology for a look at our 30 (and counting!) years of live performance!

This week we bring you our appearance at Dragon Con for The Doom of the Mummy in 2008. Check out all the pictures on our Flickr album.

In 2008 ARTC returned to the Dragon Con stage with our customary two shows. One of them was Bill Ritch’s The Doom of the MummyThe Doom of the Mummy was written to be a compliment to Thomas E. Fuller’s Universal Monsters series of retellings that includes The Passion of Frankenstein and The Brides of Dracula.

William Alan Ritch

Who is the real monster here?

The story tells of an ancient evil that returns through sorcery to menace mondern times. You know, your standard mummy story. But Ritch included his own nuances and personality into it, including an ambitious score that pushed our master composers Brad Weage and Alton Leonard to their limits.

Brad Weage at the keyboard.

Brad Weage, clearly succumbing to the pressure.

The score called for not just our usual synthesizer, but also ancient instruments such as the ugab and lyre and also incorporated a modern instrument in the cello, masterfully played by special guest Regina Maniqus.

Regina Maniquis at the cello.

Regina Maniquis at the cello.

The cast had a wonderful time, and we’re really looking forward to getting this piece into the studio for proper treatment!

Cast of

Cast of “Doom of the Mummy”

Ariel Kasten in

Ariel Kasten in “The Doom of the Mummy”

Clair W. Kiernan in

Clair W. Kiernan in “The Doom of the Mummy”

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30 Years of ARTC: Libertycon 2006

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 for a look at our 30 (and counting!) years of live performance!

This week we bring you our appearance at Libertycon 2006. Check out all the pictures on our Flickr album.

Ah, Libertycon. What can we say that hasn’t already been said? Some of our most appreciative audiences attend Libertycon, but it isn’t the madhouse that Dragon Con is (not that we don’t love Dragon Con, too…it’s just that one madhouse per year is sufficient!)

Jonathan Strickland, Trudy Leonard, and Ariel Kasten at Libertycon

Jonathan Strickland approves of Libertycon

In 2006 we brought William Alan Ritch’s powerhouse, The Doom of the Mummy to Libertycon for its debut performance.

Doom of the Mummy cast

Doom of the Mummy cast

It seems like all of our monster-related performances are difficult to produce. The Passion of Frankenstein has about a billion recorded sound effects (in addition to the Foley), The Brides of Dracula requires our best singers to be the brides, and The Doom of the Mummy is no exception, as it requires a cello – not part of our usual musical accompaniment.

Daniel Taylor at the Foley table

It can be somewhat startling

But, as always, we rose to the occasion with Sheila Ameri on cello, Brad Weage on the keyboards, and a stellar cast (many of whom were, unfortunately, unable to reprise their roles for the 2008 Dragon Con performance – luckily we can assemble several stellar casts when necessary).

Cast of Doom of the Mummy

More cast

But enough about the cast. Here are our amazing musicians!

Brad Weage on keyboards

Brad Weage on keyboards (plural!)

Sheila Ameri on cello

Sheila Ameri on cello

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The Doom of the Mummy part 4 of 4

Size: 10.3M Duration: 17:37

And now we arrive at the conclusion of our 2008 Dragon Con performance of The Doom of the Mummy. At this time we felt it would be appropriate to highlight William Alan Ritch, the writer, producer, and director of this performance.

William Alan Ritch at the tech table.

William Alan Ritch at the tech table.

Bill (as he is commonly known) has been with ARTC for as long as anyone can remember. He is a tireless force in the organization, contributing time and money when necessary to ensure that shows go off without a hitch. He is a skilled director and has helmed the vast majority of ARTC productions, especially in recent years, and is also a competent technician, working in less-than-ideal conditions to give us the best sound we can get out of venues that aren’t designed for what we do (and let’s face it, very few venues are designed for what we do).

Bill Ritch takes the stage to read the credits for his play.

Bill Ritch takes the stage to read the credits for his play.

He writes, he directs, he soundscapes, he runs the mixing board…you name it, Bill has probably done it at one time or another. But he is more than that. He is one of the foundations upon which ARTC rests. He is a driving force and helps keep us on our path. And The Doom of the Mummy is destined to make its way into ARTC Studio so that it can take its place alongside our other classic monster stories…just as soon as he’s finished with one last rewrite.

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30 Years of ARTC: Halloween 2004

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.

This week we bring you our appearances at Onstage Atlanta and Stone Mountain Park for Halloween 2004. Check out all the pictures on our Flickr album.

A plastic pumpkin graces the ARTC stage at Stone Mountain Park

ARTC’s Halloween stage decorations

We love Halloween. Love it. It’s seriously our favorite time of year. The cool fall weather, the colorful leaves on the skeletal trees…and the eerie atmosphere it brings with it. October seems to be a natural month for audio drama, and with our emphasis on horror and science fiction we are right at home.

Brad Weage, David Carter, Cyd Hoskinson, and Tracy Wilson make up the tech crew for this show.

Brad Weage, David Carter, Cyd Hoskinson, and Tracy Wilson make up the tech crew for this show.

As is often the case in the arts, the performers tend to garner most of the accolades. They’re the ones up front, visible, and vocal. But in our case the tech and Foley crew are the real stars. It’s been said that if the show is going well, you don’t even notice the tech crew is there, and that’s pretty much the case. We’ve been very lucky to have a lot of great people on tech over the years and we’re always looking for more!

Megan Tindale holds up the 'Yay!' sign for Rory Rammer, Space Marshal.

Megan Tindale is thrilled that we remembered this sign for this show.

The fact is that most people don’t always know about all the opportunities available in ARTC. Sure we love voice actors and we always need more techs, Foley artists, and musicians. We can even teach you how to do some of those things if you’re interested in learning and have a little patience. But did you know we also have all the same needs and roles of any non-profit? Marketing, fundraising, public relations, graphic design…you name it, we’ve got an opportunity for you.

Jack Mayfield and Clair W. Kiernan perform as Daniel Taylor provides Foley sound effects.

Jack Mayfield and Clair W. Kiernan perform as Daniel Taylor provides Foley sound effects.

But back to the show. This year we took the unusual step of having Halloween shows in two venues. Onstage Atlanta graciously hosted us, as well as Memorial Hall in Stone Mountain Park. It involved a lot of shuffling of equipment back and forth, but our audiences had a great time.

Jack Mayfield, Megan Tindale, Geoffrey Brown, and David Benedict address the microphones

Jack Mayfield, Megan Tindale, Geoffrey Brown, and David Benedict address the microphones

We also changed up the show we were doing, depending on where we were at the time. A bit more adult fare at Onstage Atlanta, a bit more family-friendly at Stone Mountain Park. That’s the flexibility of ARTC. You can check out the playbill for these shows here!

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The Doom of the Mummy part 3 of 4

Size: 12M, Duration: 20:52

This month we continue with 2008’s presentation of The Doom of the Mummy by William Alan Ritch, performed live at Dragon Con.

Lori Emerson, Floor Manager extraordinaire.

Lori Emerson, Floor Manager extraordinaire.

We’d like to take a moment to highlight one of the roles in the company that isn’t often appreciated by the audience, but is crucial to a successful performance, and that is the role of Floor Manager/Stage Manager. These days that vital function is fulfilled by Patti Ward (who will get her own feature posting soon!), but in 2008 and for many years before and after it was Lori Emerson.

Lori’s moved on to bigger and better things, but she did a stellar job for us as Floor Manager.

For those of you who might not know, the Floor Manager’s job is to be the primary liaison between the actors, the director, and the technical staff. They herd cats (aka wrangle actors into position), convey messages between groups, do a little script supervision, and provide timing cues to actors.

The presence of a good Floor Manager can literally be the difference between an amazing show and a sloppy show and we’ve been very lucky to have several work with us over the years. The Doom of the Mummy has so much going on with so many different musical instruments, a Floor Manager was absolutely essential.

Thanks, Lori! You’re welcome back with us if your path ever brings you back to this neck of the woods! And thanks also to all the Floor Managers everywhere!

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30 Years of ARTC: Dragon Con 2003

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!

We don’t often get a chance to show off our rehearsal process. Unless of course you’re interested in joining us, in which case feel free to come on by.

ARTC rehearsing for Dragon Con 2003

ARTC rehearsing for Dragon Con 2003

Here you see the state-of-the-art Ritch/Wilbanks Arts Center, where we do the majority of our rehearsals. In 2003 we performed The Island of Dr. Moreau and Can You Hear Me? at Dragon Con, so we had to kind of pack in the actors. Moreau in particular requires a big cast because of the chorus of beast men.

Matt Ceccato and Trudy Leonard lead the beast men chorus.

Matt Ceccato and Trudy Leonard lead the beast men chorus.

The chorus requires a rhythm and a leader, which in this production were provided by Matt Ceccato and Trudy Leonard. Wrangling beast men is hard work!

Rehearsals are usually a good time.

Rehearsals are usually a good time.

It’s serious work getting ready for a major convention. But it’s also a ton of fun. We couldn’t have done it for the past 30 years if it weren’t!

Getting ready for showtime!

Getting ready for showtime!

And before you know it, the day is upon you and you’re getting ready for the show! Our setup looks a lot different now, but there’s still just as many wires. If anybody knows how to make copper less heavy, please let us know!

The ARTC sales table in 2003.

The ARTC sales table in 2003.

The unsung heroes of the convention, the ARTC sales team. Please note the number of cassettes on that table. Oh, how far we’ve come! And at this year’s convention, not only will we have some new CDs, but we’ll also have some digital-only releases that you can buy on a flash drive!

James Leary performing with ARTC.

James Leary performing with ARTC.

We also welcomed special guest James Leary to the show! At the time, he was best known as Clem on Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Doug Kaye accepts the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Doug Kaye accepts the ARTC Lifetime Achievement Award.

And we awarded the Thomas E. Fuller Lifetime Achievement Award to Doug Kaye!

It was a great year! Be sure to check out the rest of the photos on Flickr!

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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.

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The Doom of the Mummy part 2 of 4

Size: 8.5M Duration: 18:03

This month we continue with our presentation of 2008’s performance of The Doom of the Mummy, performed live at Dragon Con.

Regina Maniquis on cello for Dragon Con 2008

Regina Maniquis on cello for Dragon Con 2008

The music for this performance was particularly special. We had the incomparable Brad Weage, and we also added in the talents of Alton Leonard, who played the lyre and the ugab. But the star of this musical show was Regina Maniquis on the cello.

Bill Ritch wrote an ambitious script that called for all kinds of authentic Egyptian music with authentic Egyptian instruments, but integral to the plot was this all-important cello.

We hope you enjoy it!

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