Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Mitch: Triumph of the Underdog pt 1

Mitch's Triumph of the Underdog is going up, in parts, on the YouTube. I am going to syndicate it here, with comments from Mitch below. Here is part one.

Triumph of the Underdog Part 1 – Prologue

For Casanova fans, think of this as Triumph’s “Back Matter.” I figured I would use this first commentary to bring everyone up to speed on what Triumph is and why you are watching it on YouTube.

The “undergraduate thesis” for my college theater program was a self-written, self-produced one-person show. I decided to make my one person show a seminar-style lecture. Mostly because I HATE one-person shows where a character talks to themselves for an hour and a half for no reason. That drives me apeshit. See if this sounds familiar:

(Lights up. A single performer stands on stage, in a spotlight.)

PERFORMER: Well, here I am again at the old creek. By myself. I’ve had some good times at this old creek. I come here every year on my birthday. It’s my favorite place to talk about what’s happened in my life recently… OUT LOUD.

Anyway, I was glad that I wouldn’t have to worry about that – I would be addressing the audience directly and even interacting with them. They wouldn’t have to pretend they were in Medieval Camelot or on Tempest Island or at a 1950’s soc hop. They were in theater for a lecture, watching a guy who is, in fact, delivering a lecture. It’s all right there in front of them.

I decided the lecture would be on “The History of Science Fiction,” which was broad enough for me to slide in lots of things I liked (Gilgamesh, Aristotle, Carl Sagan, NASA, X-Men) and would give me a chance to comment on them. But it couldn’t just be that – my senior project professor, Barbara (who would later direct this Fringe Festival production), hammered home that our characters needed an exciting, concrete objective to really make these things interesting. In a solo show these goals are usually more intimate things like “working up the nerve to ask your girlfriend to marry you” or “coming to terms with your father’s death.”

For whatever crazy reason, I settled on “save the world from fiery cosmic doom.” I thought it would be a fun challenge to “sell” the asteroid collisions and stuff with only a guy doing a PowerPoint on stage. This is funny because I specifically picked the lecture format so the audience wouldn’t have to suspend their disbelief about what they were seeing in front of them, and now they have to suspend their disbelief about ALL KINDS of crazy things they AREN’T seeing. Way to think it through, Mitch.

So that’s my general intro. This first part is mostly set up – the guy shows up and starts his lecture. Along the way we are introduced to the radio, which all of us (me, the co-writer, director and actors) tried our damnedest to make more than an “exposition box.” I do an inadvertent and funny sleep paralysis jump at time code 02:07. I’ve tried to jazz up the single angle video by cutting in the PowerPoint slides. As a result there are a few slight clicks in the audio. I’m still getting a hang of the editing software, so hopefully it will get better as we go. Finally, I’ve inserted subtitles for lines that are inaudible if they are integral to the plot or else ones that I find funny.

For more info and reviews and stuff, check out the show’s website

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