Midwestern Theater Troupe opens "The Song of Frost"
by THOMAS CONNER World Staff Writer 07/09/1998Always striving to create something totally different on stage, the Midwestern Theater Troupe this week offers a show with a title tantalizing if only because of its summertime irony: "The Song of Frost."
"The Song of Frost" presented by the Midwestern Theater Troupe
When: 7:30 p.m. Thursday-Saturday and July 16-18
Where: Springdale Community Center, 2223 E. Pine St.
Tickets: $5 at the door
But this John Cruncleton script -- his 10th -- will transport you in more ways than mere temperate thinking. "The Song of Frost" is a typically ambitious Cruncleton tale of all-around myth and wonder.
It's a new frontier for this small Tulsa troupe, too. "The Song of Frost" is a puppet show -- not your average goofy sock comedy for kids, but a carefully researched and crafted adult presentation full of high drama and challenging theatrics.
"Visually, it's quite enchanting," said Cruncleton, the playwright and leader of the Midwestern Theater Troupe. "The images are very basic, but they've got enough texture to draw you in. A lot of the shadow puppets are 3 feet tall. They aren't terribly animated, but this is part of the long traditions of shadow puppets. They're representational and abstract more than providing a focus for the action of the story."
Cruncleton said he moved into the puppet realm as a challenge to himself and his writing skills.
"My writing sometimes is too elaborate, and I thought it would be interesting to explore a medium that could be a weakness for me. It really worked well, and we're more excited about this production than any of the six we've done so far," he said.
The show uses pre-recorded sounds, layered dialogues and choruses. Cruncleton said he'd been experimenting with this form of language presentation and found that it would be easier to record the show and control the volume and track levels than to rigorously train live actors in the techniques. Abridged copies of the production soundtrack will be available for sale on CD.
The play tells the tale of two brothers, James and Jack, who visit a circus side show after their mother warned them to stay away. They are then taken on a journey by the sideshow barker -- a journey to Winterland, "north of north."