The following is a blog post by Marcy Thompson of Studio B and was originally posted on Studio B’s website. The opinions expressed are entirely her own.
On lawns, in minivans, and beneath the gambreled roofs of this quiet town, absurdity is at hand.
We are locked in a contentious debate; we argue about what kind of town we live in, who has power, where money is spent, and whether or not to preserve the past – or gamble on the future.
I’m not talking about the Post Office debate, silly. I’m talking about the plot of MILKWOOD – the radio play we’re writing for the South By South Orange festival at the end of June.
A little over 50 years ago, Dylan Thomas’ famous “play for voices,” Under Milk Wood, premiered at the 92nd Street Y in New York. Originally titled, “The Town that Went Mad,” Thomas wrote his story about the small Welsh seaside town where he lived. Why? Because Thomas felt that “what the town needed was a play about themselves.”
Said Thomas, “…the idea that I write a piece, a play, an impression for voices, an entertainment out of the town I live in, and to write it simply and warmly and comically, with lots of movement and varieties of moods, so that, at many levels, through sight and speech, description and dialogue, evocation and parody, you come to know the town as an inhabitant of it.”
He sure was smart, huh?
Studio B’s MILKWOOD, our local homage to Dylan Thomas, will probably come off more as typical soap opera than brainy literary triumph, but the sentiment is the same: let’s laugh at ourselves, damn it!
We see something universal about our current community bru ha ha. Sure, you could say that we’re going through a collective identity crisis … who are we? Ex-urban sophisticated or small town tacky? Villagers or pillagers?
But for Studio B, the only question that matters to us is: what makes this so funny?
For too long, we’ve been earnestly wringing our hands, waiting for leadership, a voice of reason, or a better lawn sign. When really, satire is the only reasonable alternative.
On June 27th at 5pm in the SOPAC Loft, Studio B will present a highly distorted, unreal, completely made up, fictionalized, not true version of current events (and, P.S., all characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental). In other words, you’re not in our show.
Our radio drama will consist of 15 roles read by 7 local actors, with musical accompaniment and sound effects by the ever-amazing Monkeyworks (our fave improvisational musical geniuses). We’ll record it live – in front of you, our amazing, boisterous audience – and release it as a podcast.
We’re not looking for Milkwood to change anything that’s going on in town. We’re not pointing fingers, or even suggesting solutions. That would place an unrealistic expectation on art to solve a web of deep-seeded political and social issues, exacerbated by attempts to get elected, make money, and put up a couple of incredibly ugly condos.
That’s somebody else’s job. We’re just hoping to make you laugh.
Saturday, June 27, 5pm
Tickets to this event are available by purchasing an all-access pass to the South By South Orange Festival.