Sunday, February 3, 2013

The Intergalactic Nemesis

I'm a fan of the 1940's and 1950's radio dramas- the Lux Radio Theater, CBS Radio Mystery Theater, Candy Matson, Dragnet, The Inner Sanctum... so when I saw that The Intergalactic Nemesis Book One: Target Earth would be playing at the Victoria Theater in Dayton, I was excited. Some of my friends called it a "nerd convention," but I think, if this is nerdy, then sign me up! 

The show is described by its producer and director, Jason Neulander, as a "live-action graphic novel." The dozen or so characters were performed by three voice actors (Jason Phelps, Danu Uribe, and Chris Gibson), accompanied by a pianist (Kenneth Redding, Jr.) and a foley artist in the style of an old-time radio play. The twist to this show is that while the actors are performing, the screen behind them shows comic book images. According to Neulander, the show started out as a radio drama, then the comic book was written, and finally, the two were combined into the current theatrical show. 

At times, it was hard to decide what to look at- the comic book artwork, or the performers. While the actors primarily contribute voice work, and I'm sure the recording is great, at times, their expressions and gestures were most entertaining. 

The foley artist was fascinating to watch. She had two tables full of interesting gadgets and items with which she created the most fantastic sound effects. At one point, she shook a box of mac and cheese back and forth while blowing into a train whistle to mimic the sound of a train. Two cinder blocks sliding against each other made the sound of a secret passage door opening and closing. A toy truck stood in for the mechanical movements of robots. About halfway through the first act, we found out what the balloon was for- an underground explosion causes a giant bubble of acidic alien sludge to expand with a rubbery sound, then pop! (For some things, you just have to see the show to understand.)
One of the most interesting effects was the use of plastic five-tone tubes to make the sound that accompanies the hypnotic gaze of the evil mesmerist, Mysterion the Magnificent. She swung the tubes around over her head with a wide-eyed expression of glee on her face. Awesome!

I'm already anticipating the shows for the next two books in the trilogy (Book Two: Robot Planet Rising and Book Three: Twin Infinity.) I hope I don't have to wait a whole year for them to come back to Dayton, but if so, I will gladly brave the single-digit temperatures again.

For more information (schedule, blog, store, Twitter and Facebook links) visit: