A TRUMP CHRISTMAS CAROL – BY TOM CURLEY

I spent Christmas day watching various traditional Christmas movies. I’ve seen them all a zillion times, but I did anyway. I think it’s the law.

I watched Miracle On 34th Street. The original one.

I watched A Christmas Story.

Well, part of it. I mean, I’ve seen it a zillion times.

And I watched Scrooged. A modern update of A Christmas Carol starring Bill Murray.

Like all remakes of A Christmas Carol, Bill Murray is a mean miser of a boss who gets shown his past present and future by three ghosts and shown his good side and is redeemed and becomes a good person. God bless us, every one.

So, after immersing myself in movies where there is peace on Earth, goodwill towards men and a kid can get a Red Ryder BB gun with a compass in the stock (even though you could shoot your eye out), I turned on MSNBC.

Back in the real world, the government was shut down because Fox News told the Toddler-in-Chief to do so.  Two children had died in the custody of the Immigration Department. And the poor President of the United States tweeted he had to cancel his two-week vacation in Florida and was stuck all alone on Christmas Eve in the White House.

He even tweeted “Poor me.” And whose fault were these things? The Democrats of course.

Then I got to thinking, a President alone on Christmas Eve (not counting his now unpaid Secret Service detail) is Scrooge on steroids. If anybody needed to be visited by three ghosts, it’s this dick. But then I got to wondering how that would turn out.

First, he has to be visited by an old partner who warns him he is evil and is going to be visited by three ghosts. Hmm, who would that be? Of course! Richard Nixon!

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: (Really dead looking and bound in chains and the Watergate tapes) Donald Trump!

TRUMP: AHHH! Who are you?

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: I am the ghost of Richard Nixon!

TRUMP: Really? You don’t look like him. You look like shit.

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: Well, of course, I look like shit. I’m dead you asshole.

TRUMP: You should try some of my daughter Ivanka’s spa treatments. It’ll take years off your face. I can get you a discount.

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: Really? I’d love to get rid of the bags under my eyes… wait, what am I doing? I’m here to tell you that if you keep leading the life you’ve been leading you are going to end up like me.

TRUMP: What? An ugly ghost with really bad bags under my eyes Not going to happen. I have dermatologists. The best dermatologists.

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: What? No! You’ll be doomed to wander the Earth, bound by the chains you created in life.

TRUMP: Will they be the best chains? I know a lot about chains. I know more about chains than anybody in the world.

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: Jesus Christ, Tillerson was right, you are a fucking moron. Look, here’s the deal. Tonight, you will be visited by three ghosts.

TRUMP: Will they be the best ghosts?

GHOST OF RICHARD NIXON: Yes, no, I don’t know, oh fuck this. I’m out of here. God, you’re an asshole.

The ghost disappears, and Trump goes to the bathroom and sends a series of tweets blaming Obama and the Democrats for, well, everything. He leaves the bathroom to find the ghost of Christmas Past, who looks a lot like Howard Stern.

TRUMP: Howard Stern! How’d you get in here?

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: I am not Howard Stern! I am the Ghost of Christmas Past.

TRUMP: Really? Are you sure? You really look like Howard Stern. Babba Boey!

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: I’m not fucking Howard Stern! I’m here to show you your past.

TRUMP: Why? My past was great.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: No, it wasn’t

TRUMP: Yes, it was.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: No, it wasn’t.

TRUMP: Was too.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Are you kidding me? You bankrupt four casinos in Atlantic City for Christ’s sake. You were a billion dollars in debt and used that to not pay any taxes for over ten years! You’ve been laundering money for the Russians since 2001! You stiff your contractors and your lawyers. You’ve been sued over 3000 times!

TRUMP: Fake news. Never happened.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: What? No, of course, it did. It’s on record.

TRUMP: No, it isn’t.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PAST: Yes, it is! Oh, for God’s sake, I can’t deal with this anymore. Nixon was right. You are a fucking moron.

At this point, the Ghost of Christmas Past dissolves in a cloud of disgust and Trump goes back to the bathroom to write more rage tweets that contain the words “No Collusion” and “Witch Hunt!” When he comes out, he is confronted by the Ghost of Christmas Present, who looks a lot like Rachel Maddow.

TRUMP: Rachel Maddow?! How’d you get in here?? You’re fake news! I never watch you! I watched your show last night! You’re very unfair! NO COLLUSION!

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: I am not Rachel Maddow. I am the Ghost of Christmas Present!

TRUMP: You’re bringing me a present? Great! I’d like a gold toilet for the Lincoln bedroom.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: No, I’m not the Ghost of Christmas Presents. I’m the Ghost of Christmas Present!

TRUMP: What’s the difference?

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: What’s the difference?? I’m here to show you how bad your present is! You’ve shut down the government over a stupid wall that will never be built. You’re forcing people to work for no pay. You are separating babies from their parents at the borders and you’re under 17 different investigations over all the crimes you’ve committed.

TRUMP: No, I’m not. If I was, nothing I’ve done is against the law. And even if it was against the law, it’s Obama’s fault. Fake news!

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT: Nixon and the Ghost of Christmas Past warned me about this. I didn’t believe them. Nobody can be this much of an asshole. I’m gone.

The Ghost disappears in a puff of disbelief and disgust and Trump (you guessed it) goes back to the john to retweet a video exposing the faces of Seal Team Five. When he returns to his bedroom he is confronted with the final ghost. The ghost of Christmas future. Who looks just like Steve Bannon.

TRUMP: Steve! I thought I fired you! Wait, I get it, you’re like one of them ghosts right? You just look like Steve Bannon.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE: No, I’m Steve Bannon. I just moonlight as the Ghost of Christmas Future. Been doing it for years.

TRUMP: Is that why you always looked like death warmed over?

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE: No, I’ve always look like this.

TRUMP: So why are you here?

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE: You know, the usual. If you don’t change your ways, you will end up penniless and alone. Your life will have been a waste, and no one will remember you. Blah blah blah.

At this point, they both break up laughing.

TRUMP: Yeah, like that’s going to happen.

GHOST OF CHRISTMAS FUTURE: Hey, I had to try, or I don’t get paid.

The Ghost disappears is a cloud of dust and rancid bourbon and Trump goes to bed. He wakes up Christmas morning and opens his bedroom window and sees a boy.

TRUMP: Boy! Who are you? What is your name?

BOY: It’s Eric. I’m your son.

TRUMP: What day is it?

ERIC: It’s Christmas.

TRUMP: It’s Christmas! So, it’s not too late!

Trump goes down to the Oval Office and signs an executive order canceling pay raises for all Federal Employees.

So, there you have it. Peace on Earth, goodwill toward men, and God Bless us every one.

But only if you’re white of course.

A LOOK BACK: THE SHORT AND TO THE POINT 2018 EDITION – BY TOM CURLEY

So, 2018 is over. Like any end of the year, the last few weeks were filled with “Year End Retrospectives.” A year ago I wrote this blog.

I hate year-end retrospectives.

Especially this year. A year ago, all anybody could talk about was just how much 2016 sucked. And it did. But then, along came 2017.

2017 said to 2016 “Here, hold my beer” Then along came 2018 who said to 2016 and 2017 “Pussies! Let me show you how it’s really done.”

So here’s myYear End Retrospective, The Short and To-The-Point-2018-Edition.” And yes, I’m doing it in 2019. Why? Because I’m a rebel because I’m going rogue because I only remembered I wrote it last year on New Year’s Eve this year.  So here it is, 2018 month-by-month.

January. Well, that sucked.

February. God, that really sucked.

March. Are you kidding me? How much more can this possibly suck?

April. This can’t get worse.

May. It got worse.

June. Are you fucking kidding me!?

July. This is just not happening.

August. Well, that just happened. WTF?!

September. This is insane.

October. No, he’s insane.

November. Shit, he is REALLY insane.

December. This insanity has to end.

🎇🎶 Happy New Year. 🎶🎇

At least we still have Betty White.

PS: And to start the New Year off on a good note, I give you two dogs playing “I got your nose.”

A TALE OF TWO TREKS: TO BRAVELY GO – BY TOM CURLEY


“It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”


Well, that’s not really true. More like: “It was the best of times. It was not so bad, at times.”

Also, I hear they are bringing back Patrick Stewart — at 78 — to reprise Jean-Luc Picard. I have no idea how the show will go, but you have to hand it to Stewart! At 78, a weekly show? So there will be yet one more Star Trek. Not sure when they are planning to start this one, but that’s the word.

Talk about a concept that has survived through many long years!

Does this mean I’m finally going to have to pay CBS because they put all their good shows on the “pay to view” network?

Once more, we are bravely going where no Star Trek series has gone before. This is not our universe, of course.  Real life would be more like “It was the worst of times. It was the ‘what the fuck is going on? This can’t possibly be real! Would somebody please wake me up’?” … of times.

This is the current run of the Star Trek universe.

Our world has been without a Star Trek series for a few years. I think we are always supposed to have at least one original on the air. I’m pretty sure it’s a law, but, for some reason, we have been forced into reruns. But times, they are a’changin’ …

Now, we have two and both are bravely going wherever they are sent.


STAR TREK DISCOVERY: CBS All Access, Streaming


Star Trek Discovery takes place 10 years before Kirk, Spock and the gang started their five-year mission to boldly go wherever the hell they were told to boldly go.

In this variation, the main character is not the captain, but the first officer. She’s a human raised on Vulcan by Spock’s parents. Its main storyline is about the First Federation vs. Klingon war. It was shot using a huge budget. The actors are all pretty good. The show is … okay.  I mean, it’s not bad. It’s good-ish.

But it has a few problems.

First, the Klingons only sort of look like Klingons. As a start, they are bald.

Klingons are usually pretty hairy.

They’re also incredibly racist. They believe in racial purity. Everyone else in the universe is inferior. And they are all victims of every other species in the galaxy.

You know, like Trump supporters. 

ALL the Klingon’s dialog is in Klingon. Actual Klingon. With subtitles in English!

Really?

Now, I’m as big a Star Trek nerd as anybody out there. I know there are Klingon camps you can go to learn the Klingon language. The bible has been translated into Klingon. People have Klingon weddings.

Yeah. That’s real.

But even for me, this is one nerd-step over the line.

Second, the ship has developed some kind of biologic warp drive that takes you instantly anywhere. Basically, it’s folding space. But what happened to it later?

In all the other Star Trek shows? Where did it go?

Voyager sure as hell could have used something like that. They were stuck in the other half of the galaxy for seven years — not including syndication.

Maybe someone will explain it in later episodes. Also, the ship can do weird things. Like the outer ring of the ship can spin around for no discernible reason.

The captain is sensitive to light, so instead of red alerts, they have black alerts!

Black Alerts?

WTF? The show’s creators say “they are taking liberties with the show.”

Liberties? Did any of them actually watch the other shows? The final, really big problem is that it only airs online through CBS All Access. You have pay for it. Like Netflix or Hulu.

The show is very dark, but still … it’s okay. Maybe the problem is that none of, or at least, very few of the people involved in all the other Star Trek series are working on the show.

That’s because they are working the other show.


THE ORVILLE – FOX Network


The Orville takes place in a very Star “Trek-ish” universe. It’s not exactly Star Trek, but really, it is.

Seth McFarland is Captain of the Planetary Union science ship, The Orville. He wasn’t the first choice for command, but the Planetary Union has over 3000 ships to man, so he got the job anyway. The show is funny. Very funny.

It’s also serious. Actually, it’s brilliant. Oh, and the Captain’s first officer is his ex-wife. Only a little minor stress there. 

The helm officer’s main concern is whether or not he can drink soda when he’s on duty.

Here’s a line of dialogue from one of the shows. They find a giant ship where the people on board don’t know they are on a giant ship. When they try to contact one of them, he shoots at them and they shoot him.

Well, they actually just stun him. They then run into his son.

CAPTAIN: We mean you no harm.

DOCTOR: Well, you did just shoot his Dad.

CAPTAIN: Other than shooting your Dad, we mean you no harm.

The plots are really, really good. Great science fiction. They do what the original Star Trek did. Take current events and put a spin on them. In this case usually a funny spin. This is the Star Trek that needed to be made. The one about the ship with a crew of screw-ups, who smoke pot, drink a lot, love to gossip, and yet, always get the job done.

I like this show so much I usually watch each episode twice. I never do that. Maybe because it reminds me of a series I did years ago (that Marilyn created) called Sterling Bronson, Space Engineer! 

Why that name?

Mostly because we knew if we called it any variation of Star Trek, we’d get sued. And it was an inside joke.

So, if you’re a tried and true Trekkie …

Excuse me, Trekker. Trekkers hate being called Trekkies. NOTE: You know how you can tell if someone is a Trekkie? They insist on being called Trekkers. But I digress.

If you’re a serious fan check out Discovery, but if you really want to see a great Star Trek series, it’s “The Orville.”

Boldly going wherever they’re told to boldly go!

STAN LEE: WITH GREAT POWER COMES GREAT RESPONSIBILITY? – BY TOM CURLEY

Stan Lee died. He was 95. He was an American icon.

He didn’t just create an American mythology, he didn’t just create a world.  Tolkien created a mythology.

J.K. Roland created a wizarding world.

Stan Lee created a Universe.

When the news came out many people, especially old, old friends emailed me. They all know I was, and still am a huge comic book nerd. Every week when I was old enough to walk to the store, I would buy the latest comic books. They cost 10 cents. Then they went up to 12 cents. I didn’t own a copy of Spiderman#1.

Or the Fantastic Four #1.

But I did own the first copy of every other Marvel character that debuted after that. Iron Man, The Hulk,  The X-Men, etc.

Every single one. I wasn’t a collector. They were just there and new, so I bought them. Years later I was in a bookstore and I found a book of comic collectibles and what they were worth. I started to tally up all the issues I remembered I owned. I stopped at 17-THOUSAND DOLLARS! So, you say, why didn’t you just sell them all?  Because when I was about 17 my mother put all of them into three grocery bags and GAVE THEM AWAY TO OUR BARBER!!!

That was over 50-years ago, and I still haven’t gotten over it.

I loved comic books. I loved all the Marvel and DC characters. When I was ten, I had a tiny desk in my bedroom where I would trace pages of Spiderman comics and make my own stories.

I still have that little desk. Spiderman was my favorite. He still is. Spiderman appealed to all the kids who got picked on, who were scrawny, who were nerds. Suddenly they had superpowers.

They were superheroes. I always hoped that someday, somehow, I would get bitten by a radioactive spider and become Spiderman. I probably shouldn’t admit this, but I still do. I always have.

When I read about Stan Lee’s death, I got to thinking about this again. But this time, for some reason, my fantasy about becoming Spiderman changed a little. The fantasy is, you wake up one morning and you’re Spiderman. But for the first time, I started to think about what happens next.

First, I realize, I’m Spiderman! Awesome! I can climb on the walls! I can pick up a  car!

I rush to tell my wife, Ellin.

ME: Ellin! I’m Spiderman! I can climb on walls! I can pick up a car!”

ELLIN: That’s nice. Can you climb up the walls and change all the light bulbs that are out in the Kitchen?

ME: You don’t understand. I’m Spiderman now. I have to use my powers to for good! I have to fight crime! I have to use my webs to swing from building to building and save people from being mugged!

ELLIN: We live in Easton CT. There is no crime here. And we live in the woods. There are no buildings to swing from. Just a lot of trees.

ME: Well, yeah. OK, I could go to New York City.

ELLIN: Really? You’re going to start commuting to the city, again? You did that for 40-years. That’s why you retired. To stop having to spend four hours a day in a car commuting.

ME: Yeah, well yes, but with great power comes great responsibility!

ELLIN: And even if you do start commuting to the city again how are you going to swing from building to building with your webs? Don’t you need a web shooter thingy to shoot all those webs? You’d have to invent it. You’re a retired TV Director, not a genius 16-year-old biochemist.

ME: I never thought of that.  But still, with great power comes great responsibility!

ELLIN: I agree. You now have great powers and you have great responsibilities. First, you have the responsibility to take out the garbage. It’s overflowing. And there are light bulbs out in the bedroom.

ME: But, but…

ELLIN: No buts, garbage, light bulbs.

So, there you have it. At least I don’t have to hire anybody to clean the gutters on the roof anymore.

And I can still bench press a car.


RIP Stan Lee


Nuff said.

Excelsior!

ROAD TRIP! – BY ELLIN CURLEY

Tom and I are members of an audio theater company, VoiceScapes Audio Theater. We write most of the scripts for our live and recorded performances. We usually do our live performances in our area – within an hour or so from New York City, where most of the group members live (Tom and I live in CT).

Voicescapes performing live

But this weekend we did something different and special. A road trip! Or more accurately, an air trip. Youngstown State University in Youngstown, Ohio, invited us to perform a ninety-minute show for them in a beautiful theater that they rented for us.

They would pay all the travel expenses for all eight members of our group. On top of that, they would pay us a fee that was more than we’d ever been paid before. So accepting this gig was a no-brainer!

Members of the group at the airport

The planning of the trip turned out to be mind-boggling. Sande, our President, took care of the logistics. She said that it took 62 emails back and forth between our members, the university and the theater, just to come up with a date for the show! Kudos to Sande for her perseverance and stamina!

We’ve all been very excited about this trip. A week before we left, we had a rehearsal at our home studio of the pieces we would be performing. We felt good about our show. Now we just had to get to Ohio.

Hanging out at the airport

We met at our gate at La Guardia airport for our 5:15 flight on Friday, November 2, 2018. There was lots of schmoozing and chatting before we boarded the plane. The flight itself was quite choppy but otherwise uneventful.

Sunset from the plane

We landed, rented our two vehicles, piled in and headed to the hotel. By the time we met for dinner, it was late. But we were stoked that we had started our thespian adventure. So dinner at the hotel restaurant was loud and lots of fun. And also quite good. I had beef bone stock Vietnamese Pho soup for the first time and loved it. We shared a Banana Custard Pie with a pistachio nut crust for dessert and it was truly delicious. It was close to midnight when we got back to our rooms.

Tom and me (on the right) with others at dinner

We were supposed to get into the theater at 9:00 AM on Saturday so we would have all day to set up and rehearse. At the last minute, there was a scheduling problem and we couldn’t get into the theater until noon.

After that, it took three hours for the technical set-up. That’s because our show involves lots of microphones, wires, sound mixers, computers as well as live and recorded sound effects.

We usually have to do this set-up ourselves, meaning Tom has to do most of it on his own. But in Youngstown, Tom had a union crew of three professionals to help him. Tom was in pig heaven! The guys were nice, accommodating — extremely competent and knowledgeable.

Empty Stage
Tom with part of his crew

I particularly enjoyed watching the sound effects guy, Tony (a friend who drove six hours from Indiana to perform with us) set up his live sound effects table. He is awesome! One of our scripts calls for a gun to cock. So Tony brought several guns to choose from because they all make different sounds.

Tony doing live gun sound effects

We didn’t start to rehearse till 3:30 and kept going until 7:30. We still had time to repeat pieces or parts of pieces that required extra work or choreography.

The choreography comes in when actors have to switch mikes, handoff telephones, or cross behind another actor. We also realized that we had never rehearsed taking bows – which requires coordination and timing.

rehearsal

Dinner Saturday night was at a recommended Barbecue place that looked like a real dive. The front room had two pool tables and old arcade video games.

The back room had a tacky bar, wood tables, and generic chairs. But the barbecue pit master is an award-winner from Austin, Texas. The food, which you bought by the pound, was terrific. So was the beer. I usually don’t like beer, but I ordered my own beer and drank most of it!

Saturday Barbeque dinner

Sunday, the day of the show, we met for breakfast at the hotel and headed over to the theater at noon, the earliest we were allowed in. The performance was at 2:00 so we didn’t have much time. All we could do was a quick run through of the beginnings and ends of the pieces and the transitions to the next piece.

Sunday run through

We had to put carpets down on the stage to minimize feedback. One of the stagehands got out a vacuum cleaner and actually vacuumed the oriental carpet for us. Now that’s service!

Stagehand vacuuming our carpets!

The cast went back to the Green Room (the waiting area for actors backstage) to wait for their cue to go on stage.

We got a wonderful introduction from the Dean of the College of Creative Arts and Communications. And it was SHOWTIME!

We sailed through the show with our usual enthusiasm, skill, and professionalism. The audience laughed at all the right places and seemed to love us. The applause was prolonged and gratifying.

After the show, we had time for a quick toast before we had to head to the airport for our flight home.

Toasting ourselves after the show

Overall, it was a smooth and successful weekend. It was good to spread our wings professionally. We traveled together to a gig for the first time and we performed a ninety minute show for the first time in a while (our shows have generally been one hour). It was also a unique opportunity to hang out and socialize as a group over a two day period. And everyone had lots of fun.

So, here’s to the next Voicescapes road trip!

FORGET FEAR. FORGET RAGE. LET’S TALK ABOUT DISGUST – BY TOM CURLEY

Elisabeth Kubler Ross defined the five stages of grief. They are Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, and Acceptance.

The tragedy that is this current administration and Republicans, in general, have created a completely different five stages of grief.  Shock, Denial, Anger, Rage and finally,

DISGUST.

I never really thought about disgust as an emotion. Usually, you’re only disgusted when you see, smell or eat something really gross.

It first hit me during the Kavanagh hearings.

Remember them? It was a long, time ago. About a month.

I watched pathetic old white Republican Senators sitting behind a woman because they were too cowardly to ask questions to another woman accusing the Supreme Court nominee of sexual harassment.

It was disgusting.

Then the next day this same nominee came out yelling and screaming about how everybody was picking on him. He threatened “payback” for Democrats who asked him mean questions. He treated the female Democratic Senators on the committee with stunning disrespect.

I like beer. I really like beer. Beer beer beer beer beer!

I was disgusted.

Then all the male Republicans on the committee proceeded to scream with phony rage about how this poor man is being treated.

I was beyond disgusted.

Since then, long ago (last month), things have gotten more and more disgusting.

The Fear-Monger-In-Chief has been crisscrossing the country trying to convince his moronic minions that a few thousand desperate refugees — mostly women, and children — fleeing their home countries and walking more than 2000 miles to come to America. Based on the very slim hope of being granted asylum, Trump claims they are really a raging mob of barbarians, criminals, and terrorists coming here to

INVADE AMERICA!

Disgusting.

He also says he can change the Constitution ON HIS OWN. He — alone and without an amendment or even a conversation with Congress — can deny citizenship to children born in the United States if they’re babies he doesn’t like.

No citizenship for you!

Disgusting.

This Idiot-in-Chief and every Republican running are claiming that they are only ones protecting pre-existing conditions for our health care. Even though they’ve all voted to abolish the Affordable Care Act more than 60 times and are planning on doing it again.

Disgusting.

They claim Democrats are trying to abolish Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. If they are elected the entire country will become an apocalyptic dystopian nightmare of crime and violence.

And Zombies!

The Democrats are coming!!!

Disgusting

Racist attacks on African-American candidates that have gone from racial dog whistle code words to obscene robocalls from Nazis who don’t even live in the state in which the candidates are running.

Disgusting

In one week, a white racist, living in a van covered with alt-right pro-Trump memes sends 17 pipe bombs to two living Presidents and other Democratic leaders.

Disgusting.

Then another white racist, who after listening to the President telling crowds that Jews like George Soros is supporting the invading horde of refugees over 800 miles away decides to take an AR-15 and slaughter 11 Jews in a Temple. On Shabbat no less.

And what does the President say? It wasn’t his fault and it wasn’t fair to blame him for it. Then goes to a rally that very night and says the exact same thing!



I could go on, but I’m too disgusted.

I’m writing this on the day before the mid-term elections.  If you’re reading this before the election, use your rage, your disgust.

Go out and vote.

If you’re reading after the election and you didn’t vote?

Disgusting.

KISMET OR KARMA? – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My husband, Tom and I are part of an audio theater group called “Voicescapes Audio Theater.” This is our main hobby and our passion.

Tom and I write original short scripts (eight to twenty-five minutes) for our group, both comedies, and dramas. Tom also directs, edits, and handles all the technical aspects of our audio productions, such as sound effects, microphones, sound equipment, recording, etc. Tom is also now doing online marketing for us on Facebook and Instagram. He has created and manages our website, https://www.voicescapesaudiotheater.com.

You can go to our website and listen to all of our pieces in the podcast section. You can also watch a video of an eight-minute piece, “Kidnapping 101” to get a sense of what it’s like to watch us perform live. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EckvRFlDOFs

Tom acting in “Kidnapping 101”

As I mentioned above, we also do live performances. This is not a simple operation. We need to pack tons of audio equipment into our SUV. We have to use a ramp to get the heaviest, bulkiest piece into the car. Then we have to unload everything and hook it up at the venue. The set-up takes from two to three hours. After our one to one and a half hour performance, we have to break everything down and reload the car. Then we get to unload again when we get home. It’s quite an undertaking. A true labor of love.

Tom loading our largest piece of equipment into the car

Our shows are a compilation of our short pieces, usually with a mix of comedies and dramas. We get a great response whenever we perform. People love our shows and praise our writing, acting, and overall productions. Our shows are nothing like the overdone, dated radio dramas from the old days of radio. They are more like sophisticated, clever, modern short plays.

We haven’t been able to reach large audiences yet. One problem is that people don’t really understand what audio theater is. It’s really just a form of theater – with actors on a stage performing a dramatic piece. The actors are just standing behind music stands, reading from their scripts as they act. They are accompanied by sound effects and music, which make it a full, dramatic performance.

Three actors performing. The guy in the back is doing sound effects

Our other problem is that we don’t have the money to do adequate marketing, in general, or for individual performances. So, among other venues, we have been performing at libraries in Westchester, NY for two reasons. First, they do their own marketing and get their own audiences (usually 20-40 people). Secondly, they pay us! Not much but it more than covers our costs.

Sande in character

So we performed at a beautiful library in Mt. Kisco, NY a few weeks ago. One of our group members, Sande, invited eight friends to our performance. They arrived and we chatted with them while we waited for the rest of the audience from the library. Five minutes before the show. No one. Five minutes after we were scheduled to perform. No one. There are still only Sande’s eight friends in the audience.

Part of our Mt. Kisco performance

The library person who booked us apologized and admitted that they have trouble getting people to show up to any of their events. Now she tells us! At least their check cleared!

We went ahead with the performance anyway. The show must go on! It was demoralizing to have literally no one from the library or the town show up. But we gave it our all. It turns out that those eight people were an awesome, enthusiastic audience! In one piece, three women were laughing so hard they were crying. That is very gratifying to a performer! So it turned out to be a positive experience for everyone.

Another group of actors performing at Mt/ Kisco

Skip ahead a week. One of the women who was laughing uproariously was so impressed with us she told her friend about us. Her friend works at a New York Community Arts Council. That group has two theaters and has regular shows that draw large audiences.

They were excited to hear about us and immediately booked us for a show for next year in their 60 seat theater. They said they expected to fill the theater with no trouble. In addition, we’re getting paid more than twice what we get from the libraries pay us!

Sande and Tom acting up a storm!

So maybe we were meant to be in Mt. Kisco, despite the lack of audience. Our private show for Sande’s friends produced a wonderful and totally unforeseen result. A big positive for our group rose from the ashes of a less than successful show.

Kismet or Karma? Either way, we’ll take it!