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The Passion of Frankenstein part 2 of 5

Size: 9.36M Duration: 16:21

As we mentioned last month, we’re bringing you The Passion of Frankenstein in five parts and will be showcasing a different performance for at least the first four. We hope. We haven’t performed two of these yet and if the recording devices fail (it’s happened) then we might have to improvise. Part five will probably include the best performance of those scenes, but who knows? We might surprise ourselves.

Paige Steadman Ross and Kelley S. Ceccato

Surprise!

This month we’re bringing you a section of the studio recording that we did at Audio Craft Studio back in 2002. This is what we refer to as the “original cast”. The pictures in this entry are still from World Horror Convention 2015, though, because we don’t have any pictures from any of the other performances yet. Talk to us after LibertyCon and Dragon Con. So the picture below of Thomas E. Fuller and Henry Howard at Audio Craft will have to do.

Thomas Fuller and Henry Howard admire an issue of the Centauri Express audio magazine at Audio Craft Studio

Thomas Fuller and Henry Howard admire an issue of the Centauri Express audio magazine at Audio Craft Studio

The studio recording was, literally, a monster to produce. The rich soundscape we talked about in last month’s entry is difficult to produce live, but surely in the studio it’s easier, right? Wrong.

Christina Fuller and Matt Gwaltney

What do you mean it’s not easier??

First, in the studio the standards are higher. Live audiences are very forgiving (thank goodness!), but once it’s on a recording all the little flaws stick out, so there’s a lot of precision work that has to get done. And the music, which in a live performance has a little bit of ebb and flow and adjustment to it, had to get timed out to the second to make the scenes work the way they were supposed to.

And then there was the review process.

Anthony Fuller and Bob Brown

“Our opinion of that draft of the recording might be at the bottom of this bucket. Or maybe it’s under it.”

See, this was back in the early 2000s when the Internet was only barely a thing for the general public. Cloud storage didn’t exist. Websites were hosted on Angelfire and Geocities. And CD-R technology wasn’t even remotely as reliable as it is now. We couldn’t just create an mp3, put it on a server somewhere, and have beta listeners download it and give feedback. We had to try to gather everyone together at the same time and have a listening party. On one memorable occasion we had all the relevant parties in the room…and the CD wouldn’t play. And burning another one would have involved an hour of driving and probably 30 minutes to actually burn the disk. So we all went home.

Ah, those were the good old days…

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The Passion of Frankenstein part 1 of 5

Size: 9M Duration: 15:12

The Passion of Frankenstein is legendary amongst longtime ARTC members. First performed at Dragon Con in 1998 it has been repeated only four times in our long 31 year history. It is powerful. A freight train of an audio drama, crafted by Thomas E. Fuller to assault the audience with raw power and emotion. And it is a technical nightmare.

Bill Ritch, Christina Fuller, and Matt Gwaltney - the tech crew

Pictured: a technical nightmare

The creation scenes involve layer after layer of switches, electrical sounds, dynamos, chains, rain, thunder, lightning, and the frantic shouting of Victor and his assistant Henry, along with the mournful recitation of the Monster’s borrowed poetry. Fuller made extensive use of Percy Shelley’s poetry in the script.

Daniel Taylor and David Benedict

“Poetry”

Over 80 individual sound cues go into this hour-long production, not to mention the live Foley sound effects. In 1998 this involved multiple CD players and tape decks, some of which were arranged to play certain sounds on a loop and could be faded in and out to prevent having to cue up those sounds again later. In 2015 we brought it to World Horror Convention, safe in the assumption that modern technology would make the production easier. While it is true that the laptop we ran the SFX from took up less space, it did not help as much as we’d hoped in terms of making the SFX easier to cue.

Tony Fuller and Bob Brown on Foley

Just some of the live Foley, performed by Tony Fuller and Bob Brown, mixed by Ashley Harp

When you have a piece this complex, you can’t just perform it once, so we will be repeating it in 2015 at LibertyCon and Dragon Con. For the next cycle of podcasts we will be bringing you each of the 5 parts from a different one of those productions, as well as the studio production.

We hope you enjoy it.

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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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