’Tis the season! Christopher Moore, the author of Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff, Christ’s Childhood Pal; Fool; The Serpent of Venice; Sacre Bleu; The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove: and the upcoming Noir, talks about his “heart-warming tale of Christmas terror” The Stupidest Angel, how it came to be written, how it fits with the rest of his oeuvre, and also what’s coming next. Featuring a return to Pine Cove, the fun of playing with existing characters, purposely misleading cover art, inclement weather, writing the thing you want to read, the secret to writing moving or funny novels, and how one creates a wonderful celebration of — and antidote to — our favorite winter holiday. (Length 22:45)
We traveled a lot in 2016 — China, Qatar, Edinburgh, all across the US — and we barely made it home in time for the holidays. Let our own Austin Tichenor tell you what happened…
‘Twas a night before Christmas, with such snow and rain Not a creature was stirring, including my plane. My carry-on was stowed in the overhead with care In hopes this last-minute flight would still get me there,
But with all of the lightning and thunder and showers We sat on that runway for hours and hours. What should have been only a two-hour flight Was becoming a journey that might take all night.
It didn’t start well. First, my Uber was late Then the airport was mobbed, which wasn’t so great And they gave me a middle seat, which was really a drag And charged forty-five dollars to check in my bag!
And then at security—so much emotion! They unwrapped my presents! Made me throw out my lotion! And then when it looked like I’d just about make it— The T S A groped me and laughed at me naked.
I boarded last but that wasn’t the worst I walked past the snobs who were sitting in First And sat through the safety shpiel, which is always a bore— Is there anyone who hasn’t fastened a seat belt before?!
They charged for a blanket, charged for a pillow Charged for a headset, and a seat in the exit row And just when it looked like things couldn’t get more black The jackass in front of me leaned all the way back.
So: They ran out of food, they would not let us fly They would not take us back, and would not tell us why! It really looked like we would never get going— Oh, and that’s when the toilets began overflowing.
But out on the runway there arose such a clatter I sprang from my seat to see what was the matter! Across my companion I reached like a flash Said, “get outa my way,” and threw up the sash–
And what to my wondering eyes should appear But a crazed flight attendant holding peanuts—and beer! He’d high-jacked the food truck so lively and quick I knew in a moment he’d arrived in the nick
Of time. He pounded quite hard on the emergency door; He forced his way in, and he got on the blower. He said, “People! You’re the victims, you’re not to blame But I’ll tell you who is!” And he called them by name:
“On Delta! United! American, too! On Southwest! Lufthansa! Aloha! JetBlue! On Qantas! On Virgin! Alaska! Cathay! SunCountry! ExpressJet! On British Airways!
On Frontier! On Spirit! On New Zealand Air! To all of you airlines we hereby declare Whether we fly frequently, or just now and then— WE ARE NEVER FLYING WITH YOU EVER AGAIN!”
And before the sky marshal could tazer him down He pulled the emergency slide and slid to the ground. As he did he knocked drinks and snacks off the shelf And I cheered when he did it in spite of myself.
We now could take off, with that nut off the plane; We soon would be home and never see him again. But I heard him exclaim as they dragged him away in the night “Merry Christmas to all, they just cancelled your flight!”
“Are you the kind of actor or director who boasts, “I don’t read stage directions”? Playwrights Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor have some thoughts for you about the value of stage directions, plus helpful tips, lessons for playwrights too, favorite stage directions, the importance of “business” and using your time wisely, embarrassingly juvenile laughter, ridiculously long running times, and, ultimately, permission to ignore stage directions (especially if they’re wrong). (Length 17:06)
Just in time for the Doctor Who Christmas Special! Meet Ross Mullan, the actor behind the weird faces of some of Doctor Who‘s and Game of Thrones‘ most iconic creatures. We spoke with Ross at the recent Chicago Tardis Convention and he told us how one gets the opportunity to work on these legendary shows. Featuring early work on Clash of the Titans, being a part of history, the importance of wranglers, original monsters, the value of BBC Proms and stud farms in Milton Keynes, the beauty of engaging with fans, a possible Game of Thrones sequel, and the unlikely friendship between a Silence and a Weeping Angel. Possible spoilers, sweetie. (Length 17:00)
“As the final hours of 2012 tick down, we reflect on some of the highlights we’ve experienced this year, both professionally and personally. Featuring new houses, new family members, new adopted countries, book, film, and television recommendations, an inevitable bit about (sigh) baseball, and some deeply satisfying payoffs. (Length 22:37)
“In The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), we take suggestions for things to replace the lords-a-leaping, maids-a-milking, and other assorted animals featured in the song “The 12 Days of Christmas”, and this week we share some of the favorites we’ve received. Featuring awkward silences, gift statistics, acceptable gifts when you come to see us perform, offers to trade, holiday music from Eric Essix, and a shout-out to the busiest woman this time of year. (Length 19:24)
“Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor discuss their new e-book How The Bible Changed Our Lives (Mostly For The Better), their irreverent comic memoir (originally published in paperback as The Greatest Story Ever Sold by Westminster/John Knox Press) and talk about how, while writing their whimsical look at the Bible, they find their friendship tested, their beliefs challenged, their bodies slightly broken, and their souls (more or less) saved. Featuring spiritual journeys, higher callings, reverent irreverence, leg-pulling, cheek-turning, religious heritage, unsolicited testimonials, and completely unbiased and non-judgmental reviews. PLUS! For a short time only — reduced prices! (Length 20:08)
“A jam session broke out recently when we got the band back together for Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) brush up rehearsals. Matt Rippy, Michael Faulkner, and Mick Orfe play their music and talk about their musical backgrounds and abilities. Featuring original compositions, the gifts of wrong notes, examples of how musical skills can help you get acting jobs, Rippy’s ditties, Faulkner’s teenage experimentation, and Orfe’s musical exhibitionism. (Length 22:22)
The Reduced Shakespeare Company is bringing joy to the masses as we tour The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) across America – from Virginia to Alaska and literally four states in between. Check our tour schedule and book early as we are sure to sell out (some say we sold out ages ago!). So whether you’ve been naughty or nice, treat yourself and the family to some holiday cheer. Don’t miss the show that was a Boston Globe “Critic’s Choice” and that according to Theatre Mirror, “Brought down the house with gales of laughter!”
Ready for some holiday cheer? Don’t miss the first National Tourof The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) coming to Reston VA, Charlotte, Fort Worth, San Diego, St. Louis and Anchorage! Take a look. Last season The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) broke box office records, so buy your tickets early. Don’t miss the show that was a Boston Globe “Critic’s Choice” and that according to Theatre Mirror, “Brought down the house with gales of laughter!”
“Reed and Austin talk about what a busy, hectic, and productive two years it’s been, and how weirdly similar 2012 will be. Featuring insight into the cyclical nature of theatre, tips on regeneration, a special appearance from Jon Weber, host of NPR’s Piano Jazz Rising Stars, and frustratingly vague references to our touring plans for summer 2012. (Length 15:34)
“Dan Berube, Marketing Manager for Merrimack Repertory Theatre, lists how many box office records The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) shattered during its four week run (Largest Pre-Sale, Largest Single Day Sale, Best-Selling Holiday Show, and #3 All-Time Best-Selling Show in MRT history), and also how many RSC shows are in MRT’s Top 25 Best-Selling Shows (SPOILER ALERT: all of them). Featuring excellent marketing strategies, the challenges of marketing single shows vs. entire seasons, theories about whether reviews matter, and the reasons why our record for #1 best-selling show in MRT’s history will probably never be broken. (Length 22:20)
“In this week leading up to Christmas (and Hanukkah and Kwanzaa) we bring you excerpts from The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), which just concluded its record-breaking run at Merrimack Repertory Theatre. Featuring music, laughter, gay apparel, evil villains (is there any other kind?), holiday cheer, and onstage miracles. Happy Merry Chrismakwanukkahanzakkah! (Length 24:33)
“After every Thursday night performance, Merrimack Repertory Theatre invites the audience to stick around afterwards and talk to the actors or writers or directors. In the case of our performance of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) last week, the audience got all three. Featuring information on costumes you’ll need to see to believe, sweeping generalizations, the value of tie-breakers, how to draw the line between offensive and hysterical, and our favorite and most moving ’12 Days of Christmas’ contribution. (Length 22:14)
“We begin our sixth year of weekly podcasting talking about the changes we’re making to The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) and the reactions we’re getting from old friends and fans. Featuring the challenges of pleasing both new audiences and old fans, walking the line of reverence and irreverence, and the differences between lurkers and stalkers. (Length 21:38)
According to Dan Berube, MRT Marketing Manager, the Reduced Shakespeare Company set MRT’s all-time pre-opening box office record. More tickets were sold prior to our first performance of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged) than to any other show in the history of Merrimack Repertory Theatre.
This is in addition to the record we already set back in 2004-2005 when our production of The Complete History of America (abridged)set MRT’sall-time single-ticket sales record. We have our eye on that record too.
“When Reed Martin and Austin Tichenor directed the non-RSC cast in the premiere of The Ultimate Christmas Show (abridged), Kyle Stoner, Phil Ferrero, and Rafael Manzo were the understudies, and they talk about what it’s like to rehearse a script that’s still being written, and when improv works and when it doesn’t. We’ll also hear from Jennifer King, artistic director of Napa Valley Conservatory Theatre, and our own Reed Martin, who shares his understudy adventures. (Length 21:10)
“Reed Martin & Austin Tichenor announce the RSC’s eighth stage show (which premieres at Merrimack Repertory Theatre in November 2011) and discuss why the show was chosen and what will go into its creation. Featuring how much material from our Christmas CD will be re-gifted, how to walk that line between irreverent and heart-warming, and how to sing just enough so that audiences want you to sing more. (MP3. Length 20:04)
“Just in time for the holidays comes this weird new classic. From Twisted Christmas Live in Santa Rosa, California, Reed Martin reads David Templeton’s dark holiday tale The Most Dangerous Christmas. Featuring an excerpt from The Reduced Shakespeare Company Christmas and rain on the rooftop! (MP3. Length 18:58)
“From Madison, WI to Sonoma, CA, a special holiday podcast. Featuring expert opinions on proper terrain for house lighting, ancient pizza recipes, words of Wisconsin wisdom, Christmas tsotchkes from the holy land, a bold new experiment called present-giving, and some very helpful notes from an old friend. (MP3. Length 23:24)
A lovely holiday ritual from a slightly different angle. Reed Martin reads Crumbs at Midnight by David Templeton as part of Twisted Christmas Live. Featuring some tough cookies, pastry wisdom, and a special appearance by Sister Mary Martha, who answers all your questions at her Ask Sister Mary Martha Blog. Oh ye of little faith! (MP3. Length 26:27)
Long-time fan Sebastian Singer wondered where he could get his hands on the lyrics to the RSC’s Reduced Time-Saving Christmas Carol that we sing on The Reduced Shakespeare Company Christmas. Since the lyrics aren’t published anywhere else, we thought we might as well make them available to everyone here. You can sing along: it’s Track 10 on the RSC Christmas CD, “Carol Complaint Line”. Enjoy!
JINGLE BELLS KING WENCESLAS
FA-LA-LA-LA, THE FIRST NOEL
THE OX AND LAMB KEPT TIME AS GOOD AS THEY SMELLED
O CHRISTMAS TREE OF BETHLEHEM
O SILENT O HOLY NIGHT THE HERALD ANGELS SING
AWAY IN A MANGER BRIGHT….
HALLELUJAH! AND HANUKKAH!
SHAVE AND A HAIRCUT, TWO BITS!