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THE FIRESIGN THEATRE TO PERFORM AT WHIDBEY ISLAND CENTER FOR THE ARTS,
JANUARY 8 AND 9, 2010.
The Firesign Theatre, comedy's legendary quartet, will appear at the
Whidbey Island Center for the Arts as its second stop on a series
of performances designed for more intimate theaters.
The Firesign writing partners and voice artists, now in their forty-
second year of working together, are Phil Austin, Peter Bergman, David
Ossman and Phil Proctor. They have collaborated on more than twenty
"movies for the mind," including the early audiophonic worlds of Nick
Danger, Porgie and Mudhead, "Beat The Reaper," "I Think We're All Bozos
on This Bus," and "Everything You Know Is Wrong."
Their 21st century CD Trilogy, "We're Doomed," received Grammy nominations
for "Give Me Immortality or Give Me Death" and "Bride of Firesign." The
Library of Congress added "Don't Crush That Dwarf" to their highly
selective recorded archives. Firesign's many hours of live radio
broadcasts and rare movies are now carefully restored collector's
items. The group has recently been profiled in two coffee-table
books on The Sixties when, according to LIFE magazine, Firesign were
"the favorite comics of the Rock Age."
They are, in fact, creators of what Stereo Review's critic Eric Salzman
called "contemporary, relevant, multi-level non-linear theater -- a kind
of verbal electronic opera." The quartet presents the work in the
authentic voice of its author-improvisers of whom Rolling Stone said,
"the very least they should get is an Academy Award."
The Firesign opened the present show at the Barnsdall Gallery Theatre
in Los Angeles last October the first appearance in their home town
since 1992. Working for the first time on a simple stage with no
props or costumes, Firesign was able to give their classic scripts
brand-new performances, utilizing only their many dozens of character
voices to people the cast.
The first act weaves together two favorites, "Waiting For The Elec-
trician" and "Don't Crush That Dwarf" -- existential tales of border-
crossing, channel-switching and selling-out. The second act allows
the "Nick Danger" cast (Rocky, Bradshaw, Catherwood) to riff, improvise
and spoof the ageless radio dick, Nick Danger, Third Eye.
Also on the bill are Ben Bland's Movie Matinee, School Lunch Menus,
Ralph Spoilsport, All-Star Crowley and Shakespeare's Lost Comedie,
"Anythynge You Want To." The Firesign's full-length iambic farce, in
development for forty years, will get a cruelly shortened reading,
in styles ranging from pure coarse acting to sincere imitations of
ancient movie stars and starlets. (The text will be published later
in 2010, with extensive notes, introductions and appendices.)
Audiences have always called out certain memorable Firesign lines during
the show and sometimes participated in costume. In return for their
affection, the quartet will gather in the lobby afterwards to meet the
play-goers and sign autographs.
The Whidbey Island Center for the Arts is located in Langley at 565
Camano Avenue. The village is located a short drive north from the
Clinton dock of the Mukilteo ferry. Tickets are available from the
box office at 360 221-8268 or at wicaonline.com. More information
and updates at firesigntheatre.com and chromiumswitch.org.
Long-time Whidbey Islander David Ossman will be joined for the first
time at WICA by Whidbey newcomer Peter Bergman, Fox Islander Phil
Austin and, from far-off Beverly Hills, Phil Proctor.
Proctor, who appeared on Whidbey in George Tirebiter's "Radio Follies,"
has been recently heard as The Drunken Money in three "Dr. Doolittle"
movies and as Harold in the "Rug Rats" films and TV shows. He is
currently on tour as Don Quixote with the L.A. Guitar Quartet.
Ossman will be co-directing "Agatha Christie's The BBC Murders" at Tacoma's
Theatre NorthWest, opening April 30, 2010, with his wife Judith Walcutt.
The upcoming NW production will be a further development of the show
which made its debut at the 2009 International Mystery Writers Festival
in Owensboro, Kentucky, and is preparing for national tour.
Bergman is creator of L.A.'s Radio Club, a writing and performance
workshop aimed at under-served kids. He's is also a Castaneda-
inspired voice coach and occasional comic monologist, now getting
laughs with "2020 Vision."
Austin writes and develops his gardens at the South end of Puget
Sound. A literary blogger, he'll have a book, "Long Stories and Short
Stories," out in 2010.
Aw, come on. Squeeze the wheeze.
-- Firesign Theatre