Monday, October 17, 2005

John de Lancie Gets A Hand (A Qticle)

A Qticle, get it? What’s wrong---too Qte?

Okay, let’s get serious. John de Lancie appeared on stage in the L.A. Theatre Works production of The Great Tennessee Monkey Trial for the first time, to a capacity crowd here in Arcata, CA. He played legendary attorney Clarence Darrow, who defended John Scopes in the famous 1925 trial concerning the teaching of evolution in schools. His antagonist was the acclaimed orator and presidential candidate, William Jennings Bryan, played by Edward Asner.

L.A. Theatre Works produces plays for audio: for live radio in its “The Play’s the Thing” series, and other productions for schools and libraries, all available on tapes and CDs. These productions range from audio versions of contemporary and classic plays to adaptations of famous novels (including its first production, a 14-hour version of the Sinclair Lewis novel, Babbitt) and docudramas. The very impressive catalog of its offerings can be found at its website.

Not only is this a tremendous cultural resource, but the audio format makes it easier for hard-to-schedule Hollywood actors to do great parts. They get to play characters other than cops and criminals, and we get to hear familiar voices interpreting the best drama and literature, and dramatizing the great issues of our time.

Star Trek actors are among them: Rene Auberjonis is heard in Arthur Miller’s The Crucible, Armin Shimerman in Twelve Angry Men, Paul Winfield in Ruby McCollum, Alice Krige in Ronald Harwood's Another Time, and Gates McFadden in Neil Simon’s Chapter Two. Gates is also in the almost all-Star Trek production of H.G. Wells’ The War of the Worlds, along with Leonard Nimoy, Brent Spiner, Wil Wheaton, Dwight Schultz and Armin Shimerman.

John de Lancie, who co-founded “Alien Voices” with Leonard Nimoy, and acted, wrote and directed several of its audio productions based on classic science fiction stories (including several others by Wells) is also heard in several Theatre Works plays.

I first saw de Lancie's impressively tall form and calm but focused gaze in one of the corridors outside the studio theatre on the Humboldt State University campus, where some members of the traveling company were assembling for an informal workshop with theatre students on the afternoon before their first performance. He was signing a hardback copy of a Q novel for a teenage boy accompanied by his father. It turned out to be more than a fan---he was a local resident named Bo Banduci who would be performing in the play itself. But he certainly was a fan, judging from the big smile he wore as he left.

1 comment:

John said...

I went to Humboldt State (1978). Once saw John DeLancie at the airport in LA. He looked like he didn't want to be bothered, so I didn't.