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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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30 Years of ARTC – Decatur Arts Festival 1999

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.

ARTC has performed at the Decatur Arts Festival on five separate occasions. We loved our experiences there, but the fact of the matter is that outdoor venues aren’t kind to us from an acoustic point of view, and often from a weather point of view. Our 2004 Frontier Days performance was particularly memorable. Ask us about it sometime! You can see all of the photos in their full size on our Flickr album!

But, that said, we did get appreciative audiences. Here’s a few of our favorite moments from the show!

Trudy Leonard, Clair W. Kiernan, Tony Trauring, and Daniel Taylor perform.

Trudy Leonard, Clair W. Kiernan, Tony Trauring, and Daniel Taylor perform.

As you can see, we’re in a tent. It was a lovely sunny day and the tent helped keep the sun off our heads. Rain would have been a completely different story.

Bill Ritch and Thomas Fuller look over the technical side of things.

Bill Ritch and Thomas Fuller look over the technical side of things.

One of the great things about this festival was our opportunity to connect with some of our younger fans (and fans-to-be!).

Old tech helped make this show possible.

Check out the ancient technology!

Trudy Leonard, Daniel W. Kiernan, Clair W. Kiernan, Tony Trauring, and Daniel Taylor are on the stage playing to a decent audience, but what’s really interesting here is the tech in the foreground. Check that stuff out. An actual tape deck! And that laptop had to weigh ten pounds. Not pictured: A ton of other stuff we don’t have to use anymore thanks to modern technology. Now we lug around completely different (but equally heavy) stuff!

More older technology in use for the show

More ancient tech

Some of it is pictured here. But that’s still not all of it.

Foley table for the show

Foley work

Foley stays pretty much the same. I think we used some of those props at our last performance!

Brad Weage at the keyboard

Brad Weage at the keyboard

And what trip down memory lane would be complete without Brad Weage? Here he is right at home behind his keyboard.

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