Robot Planet rising

Robot Planet rising

‘Intergalactic Nemesis, Book Two’ at Victoria Theatre

 By Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin

 
Photo: [l to r] David Higgins and Danu Uribe in “Intergalactic Nemesis, Book Two: Robot Planet Rising”; photo: Alexis Buatti-Ramos, courtesy of The New Victory Theater

They’re back … 

In the second installment of the much lauded live-action graphic novel “The Intergalactic Nemesis,” Molly, Timmy and the dozens of other characters voiced by three talented actors are ready to face the challenges of Robonovia following their encounters with the Zygonians – sludgemonsters from outer space – in Book One. Sound effects from comic to cosmic will be performed live by a foley artist making use of unexpected items, and the visuals stirred by the epic tale will be projected onto a two-story tall screen. It’s a radio play. It’s a comic book. It’s a live performance that will transform the Victoria Theatre into the Robot Planet and take us on an unforgettable adventure.

Producer and Director Jason Neulander began his Intergalactic journey in the mid-1990s with a radio play in Austin, Texas. The success and evolution of the show propelled Neulander and his team to international fame. Neulander has been a guest on such programs as “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” and NPR’s “All Things Considered.” Over the holidays I had the opportunity to speak with Neulander and ask him a few questions to illuminate the leagues of his fandom.

How heavily, if at all, does the plot for “Book Two: Robot Planet Rising” rely on audience knowledge of “Book One: Target Earth”? Is there recap during the performance to refresh our memories and fill in audience members who may have missed Book 1?

Very, very little. In fact, we explicitly say “no previous Intergalactic experience necessary.” There’s a bit of a recap at the top of the show, but the plot stands alone, so audiences really don’t have to have seen the first one. – Jason Neulander

In this age of deep digital addiction, you’re packing theaters with a show that relies heavily on analog entertainment. What needs of your audiences are you satisfying with what you do?

Haha! That’s a great question! I think people come because of the uniqueness of the format – the very fact it really is all analog, so to speak. For me, as an audience member of this piece, I created it to hit all my personal entertainment buttons: epic adventure, comedy, lovable characters, virtuoso performances, visual spectacle. It’s an incredibly humbling experience to discover so many people are grooving on the things I love! – JN

I thoroughly enjoyed “Target Earth.” The actors and the illustrations were well done and engaging. But I have to say, I was just absolutely engrossed in the performance of the foley artist! For some reason, I wasn’t expecting to watch such a stunningly physical performance and I kicked myself for not bringing my binoculars so I could see more detail of the items used to create the sounds. Should audiences expect an equally mesmerizing performance with Book Two? Should we all bring our opera glasses? Will there be new sounds and apparatus/toys/tools with this show?

Yes, yes, yes and yes! The entire story takes place on Robonovia, the Robot Planet, so we get to discover the inner workings of that amazing place, and boy, does it sound cool! – JN

I would assume, as with most forms of media, fans become rather enraptured with individual characters. Has Molly or Ben or any of the other characters received any interesting fan mail? How connected have you become to the characters?

I’ve stuck with this project over the years because I absolutely love the characters. One really cool story from the road is that in this town in Minnesota, they had “dress as your favorite book character day” at an elementary school and one kid dressed as Timmy! His dad sent me the photo. Incredible! For me, the character of Ben, this nerdy guy, succeeding against all odds, but tragically losing the thing that had become the most important to him (both his family in the future and then Molly), I totally connect with that. – JN

This is a pretty cool way to make a living. How impressed would 12-year-old you be with the adult you?

Jennifer, this is going to sound crazy, but your question here has made me completely well up! I’m the luckiest guy in the world these days, I think. Every day I get to play with my inner 12-year-old and he’s really, really happy and proud! – JN

 

“Intergalactic Nemesis, Book Two: Robot Planet Rising” will be performed at the Victoria Theatre Friday, Friday, Jan. 24 at 8 p.m. Recommended for ages 7 and up. Tickets range from $26 to $40 and are available by phone at 937.228.3630 or online at TicketCenterStage.com. To learn more about “Intergalactic Nemesis,” please visit TheIntergalacticNemesis.com.

 

Reach DCP freelance writer Jennifer Hanauer Lumpkin at JenniferHanauerLumpkin@DaytonCityPaper.com.

 

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