Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Artist's Path - Part 7



When I got into college one of the first things I did was go and find out about the radio station, KUCI. My older brother Dave had also gone to UCI and had done some stuff with the radio station. I figured it would be a fun thing to do. My high school buddy, Mike Payne, was also a student at UCI and together we trained to be on the air. When I got a show it was in the middle of the week for 3AM to 6 AM. But the show that Mike did was on at 6AM-9AM on Sunday mornings.

At some point Mike started doing readings on his show and eventually doing some radio plays. I had a copy of the HG Wells "War of the Worlds" radio play and we decided to do it. But instead of doing it straight, we just took the play wherever we wanted it to go, with a liberal dose of comedy thrown in. Mike's brother Tom was the major character in the story and he was hilarious (and out of his mind). Once you start something like this it can just keep happening and we went on to do other plays like the Caine Mutiny and Death of a Salesman (I played either Hap or Bif).

Then I think Mike had a great idea, instead of working off existing scripts, he would write a loose plot in 3 acts and we would improvise every bit of the dialog. Thus we began doing the Month of Sundays radio plays. Mike was Asinus Testa, the donkey headed detective, I played Sparky the Wondercat, his assistant, Tom played Dr Frankwiler, the villain, and everyone else played a rotating cast of characters including robots, penguins and many others I have no memory of. The shows ran about 45-60 minutes.

Although we were doing these plays live on the "radio", i can't imagine anyone was really paying attention since the station's signal barely reached 8-10 miles off campus. But we just kept doing them, I am sure we did 20-25 over the next few years. Where the puppet shows depended on the audience to finish the equation, these plays just went out into the ether (although Tom did record them all). These plays were to me all about the moment, creating and hopefully being funny, an exercise in pure creativity.

And I think that is the major point I take away from this is that the moment of creation is incredibly satisfying. Every time I solve a sticky plot point in a book or I draw a really funny comic, it is great. Then once you get to share it with an audience it is just a second moment to enjoy what you have created.


herdThinner said...

Oh, sir, there were a LOT more then 25 shows! Tom just burned off about 70.

T. Clarke O'Briery

herdThinner said...

I meant "than"