THE CURSED SCRIPT – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Tom and I wrote a script for our audio theater group a few years ago about a serial killer – and it has nearly killed us. We have had numerous trials related to this script and have yet to finalize it or perform it.

We were supposed to perform it, in its original form, at an Audio Festival in Kansas City, Missouri. However, teenagers were performing there too so we were told that our content had to be ‘family friendly’, which apparently meant no serial killers. Guess what the piece the teenagers wrote and performed was about? You guessed it!

A serial killer!

Tom and me in 2016

The next snafu with this script came when we tried to record it, as we do with all our pieces. We take the actors’ track and add music and sound effects as necessary and put the finished recording up on our website.

The recording also gives the actors a chance to hear a fully produced version as the audience hears it. We usually all get together in our basement studio and read through the piece exactly as it will be performed.

Barbara Rosenblat recording in our studio

However, with this script, there were scheduling problems with the actors so we had to record it piecemeal – with one or two actors recording their individual parts with someone just feeding them cues. This is how they record voices for animated movies but not how we work.

The piece never fully came together as a dramatic play because the actors weren’t acting with each other as they would be on stage. Acting ‘against’ each other adds dimension and depth to each actor’s performance and to the scene as a whole.

Sande Sherr performing at our house

It also made it exponentially harder for Tom to edit together a cohesive piece from everyone’s multiple, solo takes. It took Tom six months to pull the individual performances together into a finished, albeit inferior, product.

Tom recording in our basement studio

A year later, the group finally revisited the audio version of the piece and decided that it needed to be shortened and rewritten in parts. At this point, Tom and I were pretty much ‘over’ this script and couldn’t see how to improve it.

But we mulled it over and suddenly a light bulb went off. We cut out a few scenes at the start, shortened a very long scene at the end, and toned down an over-the-top main character. Once we tweak some of the dialogue and create an interesting montage for the beginning of the play, we’ll be ready to present it to the group. Again.

First page of the cursed script

We have no idea whether we will ever perform this piece or whether we will just shelve it along with other not ready for prime time scripts we’ve written over the years.

Tom and I are so jaundiced about this script that we won’t be too upset if we end up scrapping it. After all, we’ve been through with this one, I think our attitude would be R.I.P. Some things are just not meant to be. But you never know.

14 thoughts on “THE CURSED SCRIPT – BY ELLIN CURLEY”

  1. It takes a lot of humility to realise that sometimes we can’t win. But kudos for doing your best to get the beast done; don’t let it go just yet… But if you ‘have to’, let it go in peace. I for one would have LOVED to have a listen to it. I’m right now in the process to listen to old and historic Hörspiele (radio dramas) which are being ‘liberated’ for a short while and which date back to the 60th (Switzerland). They are great time documents too and some of the best ‘listening to’ experiences. They also make me think fondly of the times of their first airing, me a child and us as a family sitting around the radio, us kids forbidden to as much as move or breathe loudly, listening to the ‘crime or family story’ being played for us! My little sis tried to look into the radio to see the people talking there…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I wish radio dramas were as popular today as they were in the past. Maybe with podcasts gaining in popularity, audio drama will make a resurgence.

      Liked by 2 people

    1. Acting is hard in a vacuum. I give cudos to the actors in animated movies where solo taping is the norm. We do better when our actors work off each other. We also find that pieces and performances evolve and get deeper and more subtle over time. The more we do a particular piece, the better it gets.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. All our audio pieces are available on our website – Voicescapesaudiotheater.com. Click on
      “Podcasts” to get to the performance pieces. Also check out the video of an 8 minute comedy piece called “Kidnapping 101”. This gives you a good idea of what one of our performances looks like in person. It’s really fun to watch the actors acting their hearts out.

      Liked by 1 person

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