Cast & Crew
Your Narrator: Katie Kalahurka
Geppetto: Mark Robbins
Pinocchio: Becca Scott
Carlo: Emily Peterson
Manny: Dan Hillaker
The Blue Fairy / The Old Hag: Stephanie Roberts
Dr. Kenneth Dawdry: Matt Rapport
William Johanningmeir / Creed: Greg Brostrom
Jiminy Cricket / Song: Manon Halliburton
Jasper: Izzie Baldwin
Composer / Musician: Eryn Preston
Musician: Daniel Earnest
Sound Effects: Merlin James Alexandre Salisbury
Sound Effects: Joseph Concha
Producer: Joseph Concha
Producer: Merlin James Alexandre Salisbury
Adaptation: Kyle Hatley
Director: Kyle Hatley
Announcer: Emily Peterson
Artist: Adria Vitlar
Special Thanks to:
- Kansas City Repertory Theatre
- University of Missouri – Kansas City, Department of Theatre
- Merlin James Alexandre Salisbury
- Joseph Concha
I’m drawn to what scares me. Always have been. I have no idea why that is. My first experience with children’s literature that scared the hell out of me was Carlo Collodi’s The Adventures of Pinocchio. Even the Disney version frightened me. Maybe it was the anxiety I remember feeling when the wooden puppet was shepherded off by the story’s foes and ushered into the darker sides of the world, where he might be lost from his father (or “maker” or “parent” or “origin”) forever. I can only assume why this story has always made me feel uneasy and perhaps a little uncomfortable. I have never quite been able to put my finger on exactly why, though. I believe it is for this reason, however, that I have always wanted to tell my own version of the story — a version that might explore or at least examine the nature of fathers and sons and how life has a way of affecting us all when they’re separated. So, in this adaptation for adults, it is my intention to use the frame of a familiar fairy-tale-like story in order to drum up a childlike sense of wonder while grappling with the larger questions of life: religion, sex, death, love, hate, and loneliness. One might say that it’s specifically the strong language or the violent situations depicted in this retelling that makes it unsuitable for kids, but I believe that it is the juxtaposition of the dark and the light that codifies it as an adaptation for adults.
In such an adaptation it felt necessary to honor the fairy tale structure while carefully breaking its rules in order to make the conversation at once playful and horrifying. Another strange factor about this adaptation is my fascination with how children will go about defining the world, and how their definition alters as they move through life. And so the tone in this adaptation shifts from time to time in order to play at the process of maturation and the disorientation of confusion, and perhaps Pinocchio’s observation of the world’s chaos or ridiculousness. And then, it will switch suddenly, sharply, and without forgiveness or apology, to the perspective of his father, Geppetto, where it settles heavily and with a more narrowed perspective of the world — one, perhaps, riddled with remorse, regret, revenge, and a great fear of loneliness.
We all have our fears, I suppose. But I firmly believe that those fears are mined during childhood. Some are surface-level and clear, some remain buried and dormant, and some are realized in the unrelenting and unapologetic introduction to adulthood.
We are all born, if we’re lucky. And we all die… if we’re lucky.
As the Artistic Director of Chatterbox Audio Theater, it has been a privilege and an artistic delight watching — or rather: HEARING — these stories find their way into this format and for our audience. Some stories can’t be told on the stage because they want to be presented in a more cinematic way. Some stories can’t be told on the screen because they want a live audience to receive its material and live in direct concert with this audience. For me, as a writer/director, Chatterbox offers the rare opportunity to achieve both. Pinocchio is an adaptation I’ve been kicking around for some time. It first wanted to be an animated film. It then wanted to be a dark play. But as I matured to the art forms I learned that neither medium would achieve what I was hearing in my head. And with the inception of Chatterbox, it feels like the floodgates in my head have fully opened and now there are opportunities for these stories I’m dying to tell to be realized.
This process has been challenging and spectacular. This is probably the best ensemble I’ve ever worked with on a project. They were so much fun, so imaginative, so intelligent, so giving, and so incredibly game. This show features some of the most talented performers, sound designers, and musicians in Kansas City, Missouri, and each of them shine through in incredibly humorous and unique ways. My heart goes out to the cast, crew, and creative team of Pinocchio for giving their time, talent, dedication, and diligence to Chatterbox Audio Theater and to this new work. On this project we deviated slightly from our typical format in how we rehearse the piece with actors, SFX technicians, producers, and musicians, so that it’s all recorded live together in the studio. The music, instead, was scored after we finished editing each episode. This was mostly because I wanted the music to be created in response to the story’s editing (much like a film) rather than being born out of the process. This was also so that I might best use the talents of our composer, Eryn Preston, who has the uncanny ability to find deep psychology through music. This deviation from our usual precedent was an artistic decision to enhance the value of the score by giving Eryn time to listen, write and record with care, precision and satisfaction — but I felt it necessary to share that information in fairness with you, our audience.
Likewise, I want to also thank Adria Vitlar, a talented New York actress and incredibly gifted visual artist, who generated the artwork for all three Books of Pinocchio. I asked her what I ask of all my visual artists on Chatterbox projects: to read the scripts and illustrate whatever images or concepts are conjured by your experience with the story. Her choices were perfectly thematic and scarily correct in both tone and clarity.
Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank the hard work and dedication of the perfect producing team: Merlin and Joe. These two guys work without sleep in unimaginable stretches in order to finesse the recorded material with great care and precision into our final product. They are the master artisans at work here. I have an idea, the actors, musicians and SFX crew give character and psychology to the idea, and then Joe and Merlin create the world of the idea. They are, indeed, the architects. This time around, I would show up to the rehearsals or the recording sessions and these two would have everything prepared and ready to go. They have been a dream to collaborate with and I don’t know what I would do without them.
Thank you so much for listening. Keep listening. Tell your friends about Chatterbox. Tell them it’s free. Tell them it’s a labor of love. And tell them to tell their friends.