Welcome Ray Bradbury Fans to PHASE TWO of our Crowd Funding Campaign! Thank you to all who contributed during PHASE ONE!
(We'd like to hear your favorite anecdote, memory or story about what you love or how you were inspired by Ray Bradbury. Email us your story, audio or video and maybe we'll feature it in an upcoming Update!)
We're looking to raise $5000 to stage MARTIANS – AN EVENING WITH RAY BRADBURY , a new play about the wit and wisdom of the great author. Our goal is to open in September 2018 at The Whitefire Theatre in Sherman Oaks, CA for (at least) six performances.
HOW CAN YOU BE INVOLVED?
If you’re a Ray Bradbury fan we know you’ll enjoy this loving theatrical tribute his genius, his talent and his humanity. As a Backer you can help spread the word about Ray's legacy, and your name will go into our program. And check out a few of the cool REWARDS over to the right! Thank you all for your support! It means the world to us.
WHERE WILL THE MONEY GO?
With the monies already raised we have spent $500 for the rights Ray's short stories, $1500 to secure the Whitefire Theatre and anther hundred or so on promotional materials like postcards, business cards, etc. That was PHASE ONE. We are now entering PHASE TWO, looking for pre-production fund: paying sound, projection and lighting designers, printing posters and more postcards, paying actors, etc. Once the show opens Box Office receipts should pay for all the additional running costs.
ABOUT THE PLAY - Read An Excerpt Here!
An Evening With Ray Bradbury
Created by Charlie Mount and Jeff G. Rack
Based on the short stories THE STRAWBERRY WINDOW, THE BLUE BOTTLE, THE MESSIAH and NIGHT CALL, COLLECT by Ray Bradbury. Performed and adapted by permission of Don Congdon Associates, Inc. Also based on Ray’s wit and wisdom.
Presented at The Whitefire Theatre
Sept 7 - Oct 12
Friday Nights at 8pm
Directed by Jeff G. Rack
With Charlie Mount as Ray Bradbury
The play begins in Ray’s office, his “magician’s toyshop”. As he talks to the audience about his inspirations, his techinque for writing, his “love for Man with a capital M!” he confesses that he is worried about how disconnected we are from each other.
Believing that writers have a sacred duty to save mankind by “stuffing the libraries with books” he begins to write. Suddenly we’re on Mars watching as Ray brings his characters to life, moving them about the stage, inventing characters and stories on the fly.
The tales are humorous and harrowing, romantic and hopeful, fantastical and imaginative. Ray creates right before our eyes, and we come to know the mind and heart of the great writer. In the end he shows us that man must survive even if the planet doesn’t, that it’s up to all of to stay connected with each other and carry our culture out into the universe, that if mankind is to survive we must, evenutally, become the Martians.
Most of the text is taken from Ray’s own words, from interviews and books he’s written on the art of writing, as well as adaptations from four of his Martian stories: "The Strawberry Window", "The Blue Bottle", "The Messiah" and "Night Call, Collect".
ABOUT THE CREATORS
Charlie Mount served as the Artistic Director for the critically acclaimed Chestnuts Theatre Program at Theatre West where he produced the LA Premier of "Requiem for a Heavyweight", and "The Lion in Winter" with Jim Beaver, as well as directing Betty Garrett in "Waiting in the Wings" and earning an Ovation nomination for his staging of "Waiting For Lefty". Charlie directed Beau Bridges in the original production of "Acting - The First Six Lessons", his own plays "The Leather Apron Club", "The Spirits of Walpurgisnacht" and "Against The Wall". He co-produced with Ray Bradbury and his Pandemonium Theatre a production of "Falling Upward" with Pat Harrington, Jim Beaver’s play "Verdigris" and Lee Meriwether in "The Women of Spoon River". Other plays written by Charlie include "Trumpets and Table-Tipping" (about Harry Houdini) produced at Theatre 40 in Beverly Hills and "The Junto" at The Road Theatre. Originally from New York Charlie Mount developed his comedy/magic act at Manhattan’s famed Magic Towne House and became a regular at the world famous Comedy Cellar working with other newcomers like Jon Stewart, Ray Romano, Dennis Miller Colin Quinn and Chris Rock and was featured on the TV special "Magic’s Greatest Illusions" re-creating Houdini’s famous East Indian Needle Mystery. Charlie is a member of Hollywood’s famed Magic Castle.
(Charlie on "Magic's Greatest Illusions")
Charlie: “My first Ray Bradbury book was 'Long After Midnight' which I still own 45 years later, torn and dogearred and worn out but still so vital and alive. Ray instilled in me a lifelong love of books and I have lugged hundreds of paperbacks and hardcover volumes with me every time I move. I first met Ray when I was cast to play him in a stage adapatation of 'The Banshee' as part of an 'October Country' directed by Ray's long time friend Charles Rome Smith. What a thrill it was to meet a literary hero! I remember how Ray would greet me at every rehearsal by calling out 'Hello, Young Ray!' Although I did not intentionally set out to do a straight-forward imitation of Ray I was surprised by how many of his friends felt that I had captured his essence. It was then that I started thinking about playing Ray in a larger show. A couple of years later I co-produced Ray's wonderful Irish drama 'Falling Upward' with Pat Harrington and I got to know him better. I’d often visit him in his office (his “magician’s toyshop”) and discuss theatre, movies and books surrounded by all his toy robots and comic books, some 50s sci-fi B-movie always playing on the large screen TV nearby (very loudly as Ray had grown hard of hearing). Just before Ray’s passing I showed him an early version of MARTIANS and told him about our idea to adapt several of his Martian stories. And now, after several years of reworking and workshopping the script we are ready to bring this tribute to the stage. And opening night, in my back pocket, I'll be carrying my treasured copy of 'Long After Midnight'."
Jeff G. Rack
Jeff G. Rack has worked in many different areas of the film and entertainment industry over the last twenty-five years, but whether he’s writing, designing, or directing, Jeff approaches all his work as a storyteller. As an Art Director for films and commercials, and as an EFX artist, Jeff’s work can be seen in many films, including: "Armageddon", "Con-Air", "Flubber", "Mighty Joe Young", "Kundun", and Tim Burton’s "Planet of the Apes". Probably best known to Los Angeles theater patrons for his award-winning set designs, Jeff has designed and built over 150 productions from Santa Barbara to Edinburgh, Scotland, and recently received an L.A. Weekly Award for his work on Frank Zappa’s "Joe’s Garage". Jeff also served as one of the Artistic Directors and Producers of Unbound Productions; its very successful flagship production, Wicked Lit, takes classic horror literature and presents it theatrically in alternative venues. Shows he has adapted and directed for Unbound include: H. P. Lovecraft’s "The Unnamable", and "The Lurking Fear", "Sleepy Hollow", "The Dead Smile", "The Yellow Wallpaper", "Dracula’s Guest" and Robert E. Howard’s "Pigeons From Hell". Jeff also directed a very unique production of "Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde", which used the very effective theatrical device of having four actors (3 men and 1 woman) portray the elusive and metaphysical Mr. Hyde. Other shows Jeff has directed are "PEN", and "The Mystery Plays". He was thrilled to direct two of Rod Serling’s original "Twilight Zone "episodes for Theatre West in Hollywood, which are still talked about and even received high praise from Carol Serling. Jeff was also a finalist in The 2008 Rod Serling Short Feature Scriptwriting Competition with his entry, "No Totos".
Jeff: "Like many fans, I first fell in love with Ray on the page. His short stories such as 'A Sound of Thunder', 'The Veldt’ and 'The Lake', took me to other worlds -- Ray’s worlds. They affected me deeply and made me want to create wondrous and magical worlds of my own.
I can still remember where I was when I first devoured and delighted in reading 'Something Wicked This Way Comes' and 'The Martian Chronicles'. I was enthralled and overwhelmed to hear Ray speak about going to Mars and why we needed to travel and populate other worlds. He was always hopeful and inspiring, and I wanted to emulate that. When I first moved to LA, I was a driver for a film company. Well it was my first day, and I was on Wilshire Blvd, in the wrong building – and lost. I went up in a rickety elevator with no door before I realized that this wasn’t the building I was supposed to be at. I entered the hallway and was about to go back down when I saw a door covered with all of my favorite things: King Kong, Robby the Robot and Martian spaceships among them. I had stumbled upon Ray’s office. The sign on the door said, 'Ring the bell. I’d love to see you'. Well, I did of course, but Ray wasn’t there - and yet he was. Ray was there for me that day, because after that I didn’t feel lost anymore, or afraid. I knew everything was going to work out – and it did – and now I’m here doing a play about Ray. I’ve had many more encounters with Ray over the years, from getting a hand written cease and desist note because I had wanted to make my own little film of 'A Sound of Thunder', to designing and building the set for his play, 'Falling Upward', to directing a flash mob performance of a scene from 'Fahrenheit 451' at the West Hollywood Library, which he said he loved (watch it on YouTube), but it all started with 'accidentally' finding his office that first day on the job in LA. It was a sign from Ray to keep going – you’re on the right path – don’t run back home – you can make it here. We’ll I’m still here - and Ray is still by my side. Thanks, Ray. "
(The Art of Designing A Set with Jeff G. Rack)
(Sets By Jeff Rack)
Watch for a coming update about more readings! And new rewards!
And thanks for passing word of our project onto your friends!
Love our Backers!