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Theatre Company

30 Years of ARTC: Frontier Days and Tomato Festival

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’re bringing you two events at once! The Tomato Festival and Frontier Days, both at Stone Mountain Park.

ARTC in a rare outdoor performance.

Outdoor venues. Not for the faint of heart.

The first thing you’ll notice about this performance at the Tomato Festival is that it’s outdoors. We’re not terribly fond of outdoor venues for a variety of reasons, but this show was a ton of fun.

Megan Tindale performs at the Tomato Festival

Megan Tindale

One reason why we don’t care for the outdoors much is that the weather is going to either be good or bad. If it’s good, then people aren’t likely to stick around to hear a radio performance no matter how good it sounds. If it’s bad then everybody probably stayed home or ran indoors. Also, it can get hot out there!

Foley at the Tomato Festival

Foley at the Tomato Festival

Another reason is acoustics and unwanted sounds. At an indoor venue such as the Academy Theatre or even Dragon Con, we have a certain amount of control over how things sound. Outdoors, anything can happen. And we have to crank the volume up a little louder than normal because there are no walls for the sound to bounce off of!

Umbrellas go up as it begins to rain at Frontier Days

Umbrellas go up as it begins to rain at Frontier Days

But the number one reason we don’t like outdoor venues is because of our experience at Frontier Days and our cautionary tale of how great ideas can go wrong. Frontier Days was a celebration of the time between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War here in Georgia. We’d actually had to write a bunch of new scripts just to make sure we had some content for this show, and we were eager to debut them. And then it rained.

When the rain let up, the festival continued. They had strolling characters and reenacters and all kinds of fun stuff, including one gentleman who was demonstrating an actual black powder musket. We thought this was brilliant and, since one of our brand new scripts, The Legend of Nancy Morgan Hart, called for a gunshot, we thought this was an excellent opportunity to incorporate some live Foley into the show. We rehearsed it and everything went off without a hitch.

Then we performed it. At the critical moment, when our heroine is supposed to shoot one of the soldiers who has invaded her house, the musket misfired. All we got was a click. And the very next line was supposed to be “She shot him!” There was a pause on stage. The actors all looked at one another, and then at the Foley table who shrugged their shoulders helplessly. And then Geoffry Brown uttered the line that will live forever in ARTC history: “She poisoned me!” and David Benedict could only reply: “She poisoned him! Right there!”.

And the worst part is that, due to a technical glitch, we don’t even have a recording!!

Elayna Little Cook and Oreta Sarah Taylor on top of Stone Mountain

Elayna Little Cook and Oreta Sarah Taylor on top of Stone Mountain

But there are worse ways to spend your day than at Stone Mountain Park, even on an overcast and slightly rainy day. And we don’t remember if the walkie-talkies reached all the way back to the performance site.

Oreta Sarah Taylor, Megan Tindale, and David Benedict look out over the grand vistas surrounding Stone Mountain.

Oreta Sarah Taylor, Megan Tindale, and David Benedict look out over the grand vistas surrounding Stone Mountain.

We really did have a fun time doing these shows. 🙂

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The Fox and the Fry Bread

This month: Size: 5M Duration: 10:28

This month we bring you The Fox and the Fry Bread, a traditional story adapted for audio by Daniel W. Kiernan, performed live at Frontier Days at Stone Mountain Park, May 1 and 2, 2004.

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The Turn Out

Duration: 12:12 Size: 5.7M

Back in 2004 we did a show at Stone Mountain Park called “Frontier Days”.  We got a lot of great new material out of it because the theme of the festival was Georgia between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War…not exactly a haven for our usual SF and Fantasy stuff.  We also performed it outdoors…predictably, it rained.  But we still got a good show, and we’re bringing it to you in installments.

This time we bring you The Turn Out by Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, adapted for audio by Daniel Taylor.  It takes place at Easter, which we missed by about a month, but it also deals with school, and with school about to let out for summer, we thought this would still be a good time to trot this out.

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Frontier Days part 1

Size: 13.6M Time: 29:08

Ah, the ever-popular technical difficulties, how we do love thee.

So if you read the post that was previously in this spot you are expecting another episode of “Rory Rammer, Space Marshal”.  Unfortunately we’re having to push that back a bit, so look for it next week.  Sorry.

In the meantime, we bring you this.

In May of 2004 we were invited to perform at Stone Mountain Park’s Frontier Days Festival.  We eagerly accepted the opportunity…and then learned that the theme was Georgia between the Revolutionary War and the Civil War.  With our specialties being in the area of science fiction, fantasy, and horror…well, our selection of available material was a bit thin.

But our writers rose to the challenge and wrote us 11 new scripts, including rehearsals and rewrites, in about three months.  It was an exciting time and we got some great new material out of it.  Today we bring you a bit of historical bridging, “A Sage Conversation” by Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, “A Feast at Sycamore Grove” by Bill Arp, and we finish with “The Triumph of Natural Justice” by Ron N. Butler.

Oh, and we performed it outdoors on the Plantation Grounds, which just goes to prove that we can do a show just about anywhere.

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