2002 is the year. Pamela and I have moved to Los Angeles, and the quality of Saturday morning entertainment is declining to all new lows. One morning I put pen to paper and sketch out an idea for the sort of place I wish had been around when I was a kid:
* "Rump Revised" refers to a college production of "Rumpelstiltskin Revised" written and directed by noted playwright and academic hermit Allen Partridge. The show had no budget, and we literally scoured the Humanities building for materials. The set was designed by Garrick "I'm too sexy for this contest" Pass to look like coral. The costumes were designed by Andrew Rhodes and his work took him to Washington D.C. to compete at the national level of ACTF. C.J. Ellis did the prop and graphic design. He built a fantastic creature head that made my puppet designs for the show look like fabric and foam covered crap. Pamela did make-up. Oh! Rodney Fadely did sound -- fantastic found music from the library's collection of vinyl. I know I'm missing something. Who did the lights? Was it Brumbelow?
An alternative to the "boob tube!" All ages 0 - 12, parents, grandparents. (not necessarily for teens.) An indoors amusement park/carnival. Safe, clean, bright, friendly atmosphere.
Live theatre (improv., chapter plays, etc.) Puppetry Healthy breakfast available Hands-on crafts Classic cartoons - cool new cartoons (on FILM)
City Museum-esque space. FUN-FUN-FUN for the whole family. Inexpensive and always a NEW experience (encourage repeat visits.) Open Saturdays 9 am -2 pm and Sundays 9 am -2 pm.
Part of the funding can come from major corporations who would love a chance to get new products into the hands of "test audiences." Saturday Mornings provides survey data (good work for 'struggling' actors) to these corporations. Not to mention corporate sponsorship of attractions (Disney World style.)
Saturday Morning would be a great place to employ a variety of artists in a real "Rump Revised"* type atmosphere. Controlled creative chaos.
Should be located in a centralized, easy-to-get-to area near a major residential area. We want to develop REGULARS. This is THE place to bring your kids!
Make the theatre space independently accessible so it can be rented out.
Building would ideally be a boring facade jazzed up with sculpture, paint, etc.
Indoor playground: EVER CHANGING MAZE. Habitrail style. Rearranged every few weeks! Multi-level.
Entry and common areas FILLED with BIG music. Classical and movie soundtracks. Awe-inspiring.
Could have a carnival atmosphere or area with a fun darkride (non -threatening to little kids.)
Dark ride should be interactive, but in a charming low-tech sort of way. Give the kids a way to take out their frustrations on archetypical fears (the Bully, the Mean Adult, the Boogey-man, etc.)
Anyway, Al took off the leash and let us run wild. There was very little design consistency over all, and the show was a potpourri of cast-offs and leftovers. But the finished product was wild and crazy and wonderfully aesthetic. Sort of like the original Muppet Show. By "'Rump Revised'-type atmosphere" I am referring to and environment that creates a sort of free-wheeling, unabashedly whimsical orgy of creativity and fun. The City Museum in St. Louis accomplishes this sort of thing.
I hope you've enjoyed this foray into the Idea Graveyard. Who knows what we may encounter next?