Attended the This American Life broadcast last night at a local cineplex. Seemed weird to go to a movie theater to view a radio show but this program is always entertaining as well as challenging. The pre-show visuals were entertaining and clever as we played Hangman with a return to the scene of the crime theme. Sample, Part of a Spring dress – MAYHEM. We also solved word anagrams that set the stage for the event. Lights down and Ira Glass entered screen right, sat at a desk with a mixing board and two digital cart machines (hard disk drives to play audio segments.)
Act 1 in return to the scene of the crime. In Putnam County, FL (it’s east of Gainesville) those convicted of shoplifting serve a portion of their sentence in carrying a sign stating “I shoplifted at this store.” Ira read his copy and deftly inserted music and then recorded quotes from those involved; the judge, corrections officer, the defendant and citizens on the street. Rather than seeing Ira talk, the screen was filled with supporting animation. Ten minutes in, a thunderclap then deluge, the staccato of large rain drops pelting the roof, probably hail too. We call it a toad choker. The digital satellite signal was lost for 30+ minutes until the storm and lightening passed. Remember this was a live event, weather happens. AMC treated the audience right by giving out passes, offering refunds and inviting us to view another film while the storm passed.
The signal was restored at Act 5 with a monologue by Dan Savage on returning to the Catholic Church after the death of his mother: a touching and emotional story that was so genuine as performed in front of an audience versus the clinical, sterile radio studio. Act 6 featured Joss Whedon singing some of the director’s comments on the DVD of Dr. Horrible’s Sing-Along Blog. Watch Dr. Horrible here on Hulu.
I’ll do this again. It’s fascinating to watch the solo man, script, machine interface tell stories. Check it out.