On Sunday, September 29th, 2019, I was at the Chicago Steampunk Exposition where I attended an original live audio theater adaptation of H.G. Wells’ The Island of Dr. Moreau, which was adapted by K. Zoe Graham of Moebius Theatre.
The stage was filled with an interesting array of old-school and steampunky looking gadgets, doodads, and thingamabobs. There was also an arrangement of props, chairs, music stands, and old-school microphones. We didn’t know what to expect.
The lights went down and the stage lights came up as the players walked onto the stage. Each player was dressed in proper Victorian Steampunk attire. Some took their places among the props, some moved to the chairs by the microphones, and one solo woman took a seat in the big wooden rocking chair at the front of the stage. The stage lights dimmed and a dramatic spotlight shone down on the woman in the rocking chair as she began to narrate the tale of The Island of Dr. Moreau.
I’m old, but not old enough to have been around when radio shows were commonplace, so I was fascinated watching the story unfold and the actions on stage as each player did their part. The voice actors to the left of stage, in their period correct tuxedos, animatedly spoke their parts while the people in the background hurriedly filled in the needed sound effects. This was truly a theater of the mind. I was convinced the cat noises were a recording, but as I looked around onstage I spied a woman on a mic in the back making the sounds with her voice. This same person later became the voice for one of the beasts in the story.
It’s amazing seeing what was used for some of the sound effects. I was left wondering how much of these items are still used today in the movie industry. I was riveted to my seat, listening to the story and watching the activity, not even thinking about how long I was sitting there. Anyone who knows me knows that this is quite an accomplishment, as I normally operate at the same level as a toddler with a belly full of stolen candy.
When it was over, I was left with the same feeling I get when I walk out of an epic movie. I walked in with very little expectation and walked out having fully enjoyed the experience.
Reptile’s Random Reviews gives this unexpected production 4.5 Stars out of 5.
This has been a Belated Extra Edition of Reptile’s Random Reviews.