Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Winsor McCay's Slumberland

This video was made of our second (out of three) performances last Saturday night, Sept. 8, 2012 at the Cleveland Public Theatre PANDEMONIUM benefit. The theme for the event was The House of Dreams.

The Parish Hall on the CPT campus was the fellowship hall for the adjacent Romanian Orthodox Church, which is very small, no doubt the congregation at one time required additional space for social events -- the Parish Hall is much larger than the church itself. But it’s not that large, either. At one end of the hall is a little stage, which CPT has made look absolutely lovely, with a new red curtain, neatly painted trim, a black back wall, the wood floor has been finished, and professional lighting. But as you can see -- it’s tiny! It’s so cute.

Nemo & Princess!
There were eight of us backstage, waiting in the limited wingspace. The hall itself was divided in half by a divider, which did not stop sound from travelling from the art exhibit on the other side of the hall, but I do love hearing all the sound coming in from everywhere on this video, it gives a sense of all the activity going on beyond the stage.

Marian made this video from one of the sixty-five available seats. I encouraged her to sit up close, you can just make out the “moon” light crafted by Ben Gantose -- which was a bonus, when we can in for tech. Love that moon!

Valerie plays the part of “Imp” which my daughter (who plays the Princess) describes as actually more like a monkey in McCay’s original. I will take some time before correcting her, McCay’s Imp is actually a grotesque African caricature.

Also, the original King Morpheus is a giant of a man, burly, bald, bushy-bearded, stripped to the waist with gold bands around his bulging, muscular arms. I asked Keith to dress like Neil Gaiman’s Morpheus, so there’s a little geeky joke there for you.

Prior to each performance, Valerie handed copies of the original strip to members of the audience. Before our third and final performance a man came in, greatly excited. He asked Valerie if this was really based on Little Nemo -- the cartoon handout confirmed this -- and waited after to talk to me about it. He was delighted to find that it was a legitimate adaptation, and not some kind of gag.

I found the music on YouTube, a fan of old timey music boxes has a series of videos playing their Edison wax cylinders and 78s. These recordings are from 18 ½ inch metal disc music boxes, including In the Good Old Summertime, Amoureuse Waltz and Come Take a Trip in My Airship.

Read the complete, five-minute version of Winsor McCay's Slumberland and the one-hour, full-length Adventures In Slumberland at New Play Exchange.

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