Planning for Spring
By John Holdun on November 17th, 2016
An article about Bobby’s Birthday
The election news feels less shocking this week than last, but actually that’s a bad thing if it means we’re normalizing what’s going on. This is not a standard change of power, from Democrat to Republican; President-Elect Donald Trump is appointing overt white supremacists and this is not okay. Keep calling your representatives and supporting your community.
Anyway. For a moment, let’s just think about Spring.
The second Variable Stage production is called Bobby’s Birthday. It’s about Percy and Bobby, a dog and a cat who are roommates in a town full of animals (think something between Busytown and Arthur). It starts one morning as Bobby is leaving to meet their study group at the library; right after Bobby leaves, Percy remembers that it’s Bobby’s birthday and he hasn’t prepared anything! He quickly puts together a plan and heads out.
We follow Percy to the bakery, through the park, and into the library, assembling a last-minute surprise party and covertly inviting all of Bobby’s friends. Does it work? You’ll find out in April!
This show will be about ten gags across five scenes. (Compare this to Graveyard Swing, which featured about two gags across three scenes.) Each scene will feature a minute or so of recorded narration and dialogue, triggered by a member of the audience pushing a big button as their group enters a scene. The characters will, on average, be smaller than the ones featured in Graveyard, and there will be more physical depth to each setting (whereas the last show just had one flat backdrop per scene). The motion mechanisms will be built first, with character dressing laid over them once they work, instead of trying to retrofit animation into figures that have already been built.
The script is iambic quadrameter rhyming couplets, because I cannot help myself. It’s probably going to be about half narrated and half spoken by the characters; ideally, the narrator and the characters are all distinct voices. I have the opportunity here to record soundtracks in multiple languages, but I’ll see about finding an interested audience before I move beyond English. The whole show is outlined and I’ve written a draft of maybe a quarter of the script. Here’s my favorite bit so far:
A bear and sloth were in the store, amazed at what just happened there.
“We don’t know Bobby,” said the bear.
I’m going for that classic children’s book vibe, very Seuss-like. By the end of the month I’ll have a full draft of the script, a scratch recording, and to-scale renderings of everything in every scene. By next week I’ll have…some part of that. Bye!