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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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Blazing the Trail of Tears part 2 of 2

Size: 4M Duration: 8:47

Back in 2004 ARTC performed an outdoor show at Stone Mountain Park for their Frontier Days festival.  We’ve brought you some of that material here in the podcast before and today we revisit it with Mike Langford’s Blazing the Trail of Tears in two parts.  The timing of this story for this podcast is not lost on us.  It is not a proud part of Georgia or American history, but it is an important one.  We hope you enjoy the presentation.

Next week we will begin bringing you segments from An Atlanta Christmas, originally written by Thomas E. Fuller and continually expanded by a host of our other writers.

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Blazing the Trail of Tears part 1 of 2

Size: 6M Duration 12:25

Back in 2004 ARTC performed an outdoor show at Stone Mountain Park for their Frontier Days festival.  We’ve brought you some of that material here in the podcast before and today we revisit it with Mike Langford’s Blazing the Trail of Tears in two parts.  The timing of this story for this podcast is not lost on us.  It is not a proud part of Georgia or American history, but it is an important one.  We hope you enjoy the presentation.

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Memorial Day part 2 of 2

Length: 27:26  Size: 12.8M

Last week we celebrated the upcoming Memorial Day holiday with a few timely pieces, and this week we conclude that celebration with a wonderful piece entitled Unaccustomed to Fear, written by Terry Quinn, performed at Stone Mountain Park’s Memorial Hall on May 29, 2005.

Unaccustomed to Fear was originally performed at the National Audio Theatre Festivals audio theatre workshop in June of 2002 and it made quite an impression on me.  When an opportunity for us to perform at Stone Mountain on the Memorial Day weekend, I knew this was the perfect piece for us to bring to our audience.  I contacted the author and was luckily able to negotiate the rights to perform it again.  Unfortunately I was not able to reprise my role as the narrator as my cousin was getting married in Boston at the time.  The story is based on true events and we hope you enjoy it.

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Memorial Day

Duration: 19:19 Size 9M

On Sunday, May 29, 2005 ARTC performed a tribute to heroes at Stone Mountain Park’s Memorial Hall.

This week we bring you a portion of that show.  We begin withBumpers Crossroads: Grandma’s Diary by Daniel Taylor and proceed to Chief Burnley’s History Lesson by Ron N. Butler.

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