Written by Fred Patten and published on Bruce Pelz's mimeograph, January 20, 1965. Intended for Apa L, Fourteenth Distribution, LASFS Meeting #1432, January 21, 1065. Address: 1825 Greenfield Avenue, Los Angeles, California, 90025. Phone: 213 GR 36321.
|LONCON II in 1965!||Jock Root for TAFF!||Salamander Press #72.|
In case I neglect to mention it elsewhere, let me state right now that it is an OC decree that the minimum run for Apa L in the future is 35 copies. Most of our contributors have been very obliging in getting at least this amount in every week anyhow, but there are still those who are producing only 30, or 31, or 32, or 33 copies. The result is a whole klooje* of incomplete copies of varying percentages of fullness. As OC, I've got enough to do in getting the Distribution assembled and handed out by 10:00 p.m. without having to keep track of separating the incompletes from the completes; or, when we run out of completes, trying to decide who should get the most complete of the partial copies, and who should be forced to settle for a smaller one. The Meeting may be small enough that we have enough complete copies for all, or we may have to go into the partial ones. In every case so far, it's been a small enough number that a full 35 copies of each individual zine would have left us with enough complete copies for all and no problem to worry about. Therefore, I am demanding that everyone turn in 35 copies in the future; it's only 2 or 3 or 4 more sheets of paper and turns of the mimeo/ditto crank, and it'll settle the problem nicely.
* copyright 1964 by Ted Johnstone.
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Last Sunday's LASFS theatre party to "The World of Ray Bradbury" was a rousing success, in all aspects. Our turnout was a large one -- 38 by official count -- which definitely makes it a genuine LASFS function, rather than just a gathering of LA actifen. As the $1.88 tickets were sold at $2 each, the small individual profit netted our Building Fund a total of $4.56, which will be turned over to it tonight. Following the play, most of us gathered at a nearby restaurant (any place with a 40¢ minimum cover charge is a restaurant by my book; they're not likely to get my business again) for the usual pre-breakup chatter, discussing the play, aspects of fandom, zodiacal rings, and the upcoming (and possibly final) Gilbert & Sullivan party in Berkeley on March 6, for "the Gondoliers", with a cast party afterwards at Tony Boucher's. As just about everyone discussing this last seems to be planning on attending, it may be the biggest LA-Bay Area G&S party ever.
But the hit of this party was "The World of Ray Bradbury". More than ever now, I am incensed that the Worldcon Committee should arbitrarily discontinue the "Hugo" for Best Dramatic Production before "The World of Ray Bradbury" could ever complete. If it can't compete for a Best Dramatic Production "Hugo", it should at least be nominated for a "Hugo" Special Award (provided London isn't doing away with them also).
The Coronet Theatre is a small "art" theatre, just the right size for Bradbury's production, and our theatre party tickets got us seats right in the first eight rows. The three plays were all simple and straightforward, with small casts; I think the largest number on stage at any one time was five. Props were at a minimum, though unfortunately what appears to have been the only major one -- a force-field door -- was inoperable during this performance. The setting in each case was basically a bare stage, with the backdrops (slides by artist Joe Mugnaini) projected onto the screenback. Sound effects and lightning provided the rest of the technical backgrounds, and was superbly handled; after "The Pedestrian", Jack Harness remarked that the play had been stolen by the robot police car, which was merely a bright flashing spotlight from stage left and an offstage voice through an amplifier. The plays were staged as though the center of interest -- the police car in "The Pedestrian", the playroom in "The Veldt", and the unseen audience in "To the Chicago Abyss" -- was right out in the audience; thus, the actors delivered their lines facing the audience so that few words were lost, and the "message" was delivered without being too obviously preaching. This was done to best effect in "The Veldt", in which the actors stood in the entrance to the playroom -- the front of the stage -- and looked right out into the audience, while the sound effects from the back of the theatre completed the illusion that the audience was seated invisibly right in the center of the playroom itself. The moving sound effects, in which the beating of the vulture's wings traveled from one side of the theatre to the other, was a fine touch.
The costuming in the first and third plays was nothing special; in "The Pedestrian", for walking unnoticed at night, the two actors wore simple black sweaters, pants, and a cap. As "To the Chicago Abyss" was set in a war-devastated future, the only clothing was tattered rags. Only in the second play, "The Veldt", did the costume designer get a chance to use his imagination. The result was quite interesting; the basic designs were not too unlike current styles, but just enough different in material and cut to call your attention to them. Bĵo wondered whether they were supposed to depict the standard styles of the 1990's, or just the common bad taste of the period, which would have been appropriate to the family depicted. George Hadley's neon-blue necktie and Lydia's fur skirt were the standout pieces to me.
The acting was excellent in all respects. The star of the evening was Dennis Patrick, who played Leonard Mead in "The Pedestrian", David MacClean in "The Veldt", and the Stranger in "To the Chicago Abyss". There was nothing wrong with any of the other acting, though. The only thing that I considered a flaw in the plays was with the dialogue of the children in "The Veldt". It was wonderfully delivered (considering some of the child actors I've seen), but Bradbury let his sense of poetic imagery run away with him here; it wasn't the sort of dialogue natural to 9- or 10-year-old children, and it rang artificially. But that's my only complaint in thee whole of the evening's 2-hour production.
If I understand correctly, "The World of Ray Bradbury" is moving back East at the end of this month (to New York, I imagine), and Bradbury's Pandemonium Theatre Co. will begin three more Bradbury plays here -- one is supposed to be "The Wonderful Ice-Cream Suit"; I don't know about the others. I hope this is true; New York Fandom will get a chance to see this for themselves now (and vote for it if the Best Dramatic Production "Hugo" is restored), and we'll be able to hold another theatre party in a couple of months. Assuming Bradbury is able to keep this up -- and he's got enough excellent short stories to dramatize -- this may go on long enough for him to monopolize the Dramatic "Hugo" (as soon as it's restored to the ballot) for the next several years. And we can go on holding theatre parties that long.
It's a shame we couldn't collect enough copies of the theatre program to put them through Apa L, too. However, Bĵo commandeered all we could find to send to the Bradbury fans in Germany and Japan, who need them more than we do. After all, we can always go see the plays again -- which wouldn't at all be a bad idea. By all means, if you missed our theatre party, make sure you catch "The World of Ray Bradbury" on your own before it leaves town.