The performers and people involved with the project gave a brief history prior to show time, explaining that what began as a radio play at a coffee shop in Austin in the 90s morphed into a graphic novel and then to a live performance.
The concept is simple enough: projected illustrations on a screen, with actors doing character voices, a keyboardist and a foley artist who recreates the sound effects for the performance. While watching though, the multimedia affect is captivating without being overwhelming to the viewer.
The plot, as showcased through 1,250 illustrations from the graphic novel projected on the screen, takes place in 1933 where its up to the main characters to save Planet Earth from sludge monsters from the planet Zygon and the evil plots of Mysterion the Magnificent.
Pulitzer prize-winning reporter Molly Sloan, her quirky kid assistant Timmy Mendez and a mysterious, heroic librarian Ben WIlcott travel through Romania, Transylvania and eventually through outer space, combatting danger and navigating their way to planet Zygon. The story is unique, with a balance of characteristics from cult sci-fi, details of the time period of the 30s and some humour of the future. Much like an interactive performance, there were dramatic silences and lots of action.
One of the most interesting things was seeing how many voices were heard coming from three actors. One actor for example, plays nine characters total and is involved in four death scenes. There is an element of overacting but it made it that much more enjoyable and impressive.
Foley artist Buzz Moran was like a child in a toy store, surrounded by a table of props and tools and instruments. There was a spotlight on him just subtle enough that he could see what he is doing and we could see that he was visibly enjoying himself throughout the duration of the performance. Seeing a foley artist create sound in perfect sync with the graphic novel and story was incredible, and just made the performance that much more dynamic and real. My favorite sound effect was using a box of macaroni and cheese and a train whistle for an incoming train noise.
You can get a taste of the performance by watching the tour trailer video here, and perhaps if we’re lucky, Proctor’s will bring the sequel to town, which premieres this summer on June 8.
Proctor’s theatre has some really cool events coming up, including tonight being the opening night for Shrek the Musical. Shrek will run through the 29th and tickets are available online and at the box office.
This Friday, Proctors will also showcase TROMAFEST, which is the double feature of the classic Toxic Avenger and Cannibal the Musical. There will also be a special live appearance by the famous indie horror director, Lloyd Kaufman on Friday.