Nothing "Fake" About L.A. Theatre Works
Monday and Tuesday night (11/9 and 11/10) our Hi-Fidelity members were treated to an unusual experience: attending the recording of a play re-configured for radio as the live audience. L.A. Theatre Works (91.5 WBEZ Saturdays at 10:00 p.m.) is a company committed to performing full-length plays with no sets, costumes or props and recording them, complete with Foley sound effects work, in front of live audiences for broadcast.
This week, the group presented Eric Simonson's "Fake" based upon the true story of the "Piltdown Man" - a fabricated found skull purported in 1914 to be a fossilized example of 'the missing link' and how its existence and eventual debunking caused minor chaos in the realms of both science and religion. Originally produced on Chicago's Steppenwolf stage, the recorded play utilized the original cast (Kate Arrington, Francis Guinan, Alan Wilder, Coburn Goss, and Larry Yando) as well as Jan Watson on Foley Effects. The transfer from stage to radio is an interesting one and involves the actors communicating much more clearly their character's emotional states and intentions using only their voices.
In the same way that email doesn't filter sarcasm well, the act of funneling all of the physical storytelling a stage actor uses into the potentially tiny world of the voice can be difficult.‚ LATW, however, knows exactly how to do it and the actors performing were highly skilled - the result was truly a unique and exhilarating experience for all.