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First Time’s a Charm

Q & A with Radio T.B.S. Director Ron Judd

Radio T.B.S. has been so successful in its two-week run that I can’t even get a seat. Set in a trailer park, this bawdy, politically incorrect show has audience members coming back a second time to laugh themselves silly. The Very Little Theatre’s Stage Left space can hardly hold the guffawing audiences. To find out the secret behind local-actor-turned-director Ron Judd’s sold-out show I caught up with him over email.

 

In your press release you mention that you were in the show before. How is it directing a show that you have acted in? Are you doing things differently or do you find yourself sticking closely to your original experience with the script?

This show is my first ever to direct and I am grateful to the Very Little Theatre for giving me this opportunity. I chose this show since I was familiar with it, having been in it before. I felt that by picking a show I had previously been cast in would give me a chance to ease into the directorial responsibilities. Regarding whether or not I’m finding myself sticking closely to my original experience, I’m really not. When I was in the show several years ago, the director at the time chose to cut several lines from the script to try and make it a little less “crude.” I have cut nothing from the script and left it in its original gut-splitting humorous state. One thing, however, I have tried to watch and make sure I don’t do is that of influencing the actress that I have playing the role that I did. Though during the rehearsal process I shared some of my decisions about the character, she has still become her own interpretation of the role and quite successfully, I might add. No two productions of the same show and no two actors for the same role should ever be identical. This is the mystery of live theater, that it lives and breathes on its own each time any given script is produced.

Have you ever been involved in an all-female show before? What is it like? 

Radio T.B.S. is my first show as a director and thus is my first time to ever direct an all female cast. However, when I was in the show when I lived in Wichita, Kan., the director at the time cast about five women and five men playing women in drag. This element increased the humor level many times over. Personally, I can recall being in another comedy where I played three different female roles in the same show. In my initial thoughts for casting Radio T.B.S., I wanted to try and cast the role of the daughter with a male in drag, but no men showed up to the auditions. So, I went ahead and cast all 10 women. I was not disappointed in this decision at all. Another one of the main reasons I chose this script is because there are already too few scripts in the theater world that allow an opportunity for our actresses to truly shine. So, my directorial debut has actually had a two-fold purpose.

 

From the description, the show looks pretty light. I haven’t read the script. Is there a deeper side or will this be an evening of pure comedy?

I’m not sure if “light” would be the best term for this comedy. Without a doubt its humor has the potential to offend some people through its stereotypes, religious references, etc. If you come to the show with an open mind, just simply looking for a good time and a desire to laugh, then you should be in for a treat. However, yes, if you hang on during the ride of the performance you will come to that moment where you will see we are all just equal human beings, with our faults, our shortcomings, our ability to hurt others with our words and actions, and last but not least, ask ourselves if we are capable of forgiving.

 

All around town people are staging family plays for the holidays. This doesn’t look like much of a kids’ show! What made you decide to pick this comedy over the more saccharine offerings that generally come with this season?

Though there is a Christmastime element to this show, it is actually only coincidental that it’s happening now. When my proposal to the VLT Board of Directors was accepted as one of the two Stage Left productions (out of six proposals submitted) for the 2012-2013 season, they decided to put my show in the November/December production slot due to its holiday references. However, the story refers to the trailer park’s annual live, drive-by nativity with the theme of Jesus and Elvis: A Tribute to the Kings. It’s referenced as putting the two “events” together to coincide with the death of the king of rock and roll, Elvis Presley, who passed away in the month of August. So, the ladies of Luna Del Mar are reenacting this “special” nativity in the summertime in their tropical, central Florida location. So, needless to say, if you are looking for an alternative to the “more saccharine offerings” around town and want to test just how hard you can laugh, then Radio T.B.S. may just be the holiday show for you. We’ve already had one patron state that it’s the funniest show she’s ever seen and better than some of the “larger” productions, and yet another patron, who has already come back a second time, told me that after the first time she saw it she had a tough time getting to sleep that night because she was still laughing so hard.

 

Sounds fun, right? Too bad you can’t get a seat, either. So join me and the Eugene Weekly in looking forward to Judd’s future productions!