Variations in Theme Song (Moe)

After the first episode of Moe’s Island Jamboree, and its unadorned theme song which was more of a spur of the moment attempt just to get the episode out, I attempted to make a proper theme tune. And by proper, I mean a quickly tossed off and one-take piece of simplicity. I figured that something with too much shine on it wouldn’t befit a show of the quality that Moe Gorman would be involved in.

Here’s a quick tip to any aspiring writers or creators – one that I have learned to excel at: Create characters who are punching above their weight. If they’re a bit simple or base or low on talent or ability, it makes it easier on you, the writer, when coming up with their output. Create a genius and you kind of have to make them sound like a genius. Whereas, someone who writes terrible songs makes it easier to create their terrible songs. And people will often believe there is a profundity behind the creations – but in reality, you’re just writing terrible songs.

Anyway, here is the theme song I came up with. Since abandoning it, I have not listened to it again until today, and I must say – I’m not very fond of it.

Rob’s Never-Used Theme Song for Moe’s Island Jamboree

As I do with many things, I asked Dave Stewart to take a listen and to offer his opinion. He gallantly said it perhaps didn’t suit the mood of the project, and asked (or I asked him, I forget) if he could have a go at the music. A few moments later, he sends me back a file, and I instantly recognize that this is the theme. I added vocals, and this is the ear-wormy result:

Dave’s Often-Used Theme Song for Moe’s Island Jamboree

Dave and I are sort of the Lennon/McCartney of our friendship. A bit of a friendly rivalry, perhaps, but we often will make each other’s output better when asked to contribute. And together, we’ve made a few, imo, pretty good things.

So, thanks Dave, for being so awesome at making stuff I do so much better. That tune is sickingly catchy, and a perfect addition to Moe’s Island Jamboree!!

Moe’s Island Jamboree – MaryAnne FitzPatrick

One of the more fruitful creative wells I’ve supped from (ugh, metaphor) is my weekly lunch-time drive around the city with my pal of pals, Dave Stewart. While driving, we gab and complain and make jokes and come up with ideas that run the gamut from asinine to amazing. Many of my favourite sketches that I’ve written over the years have emerged from these lunch-time free-for-alls.

The last time (I think it was the last time) we had one of these drives, before the pandemic boom hit, I was just about to drop him off at work. We had been talking, I believe, about things I could do in my new role as Writer-In-Residence at The Guild. I had been mentioning my desire to create some sort of video series that could incorporate talents, or lack-of-talents as the case may be, of fellow Islanders. As he was leaving the car, he says something like “what about a talent show with you as host – like a Rob’s Video Island Jamboree”. Something like that.

The idea immediately appealed to me, and after a few hours of thought, and a few title changes, it transformed into “Moe’s Island Jamboree”.

graphic designed by Dave Stewart

The idea would be that my character from years ago, Moe Gorman, would host an online entertainment show. Moe would host and sing a song or recite a poem or whatever, and then introduce that episode’s special guest.

Moe is a guy who fancies himself a poet/songwriter who specializes in works about people who piss him off

Upon approval from Alanna Jankov at The Guild, the call went out, to friends mostly, asking people to send in videos of themselves being entertaining in some way.

Not long after, we got our first contribution, from MaryAnne FitzPatrick, who decided this was a perfect opportunity to jump out of her comfort zone and commited to singing a song – something she loved to do in a past life but hadn’t done much singing recently. That first episode of Moe’s Island Jamboree is below. I’m happy to report that MaryAnne has continued with her Singing While Cooking videos on Facebook, and am thrilled that she seems to have rediscovered her love of singing!

Moe recites a poem about Malcolm McKearney and guest MaryAnne FitzPatrick sings a song!

This is the first episode in the series, and its rawness can be exemplified in many elements within, not in the least the unadorned theme song. I (or I should say Moe) wrote the poem about Malcolm McKearney a month or so before this was shot. I didn’t have it memorized, didn’t have the desire to memorize it, and so I came up with the clunky editing style you see here. I would go on to utilize this “line at a time” editing style in many of Moe’s videos.

More on more of Moe’s Island Jamboree episodes, and other things, in future posts.

Rob Reviews Realizations. Again.

The newly-formed Screaming Beaver Productions has remounted the 2018 Island Fringe Festival hit, Realizations, written by Kandace Hagen, and once again directed by Rory Starkman. You can read my review of that production here.

I saw the second of five performances scheduled for this remount, playing at, and presented by, The Guild. The final three performances take place this coming Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and I whole-heartedly recommend you go see this challenging, affecting, and effective play.

Many of the plethora of plaudits and few issues I wrote about of the original production still stand. The script is tight, smart and engaging. The male characters, except Marcus, are still too much used simply as unredeeming plot devices and are not fleshed-out in any interesting way. (This may be on purpose, and if so, fine. But I think it’s a mistake to ignore them as actual, dimensional, characters) The acting, for the most part, is quite good, but perhaps not quite as crisp overall as in the original production. (It is hard not to compare the two productions and that production was magic) As a play, it moves along at a great pace and easily holds one’s attention. But the real triumph, in a play full of triumphant elements, is the use of the space and set pieces.

The entire width of The Guild stage is used quite effectively. (although when sitting on the theatre-entrance side of the audience, it was a bit hard to hear what was being said in the bedroom set, all the way across the room. But this is a matter of actor vocal projection, perhaps, and only troublesome at the very top of the play) The main part of the stage was empty, except for a dozen or so two-foot by two-foot (I’m guessing) black boxes. They were constantly being moved and arranged and manipulated by the entire cast between scenes, to create a multitude of different locations and atmospheres. It was no doubt a challenge of choreography, but very much worth it as it proved very, very effective. Only a couple of times did I find it a little bit intrusive to the action happening elsewhere on stage, and maybe a couple more where I wondered what was the point of that last boxy beehive of commotion.

This play deserves to play to full houses. As with the original production (which did play to full, albeit smaller, houses), I wonder if its publicity makes people trepidatious about wanting to see it. Frankly, the publicity for the show isn’t very inviting, and reads more like a university thesis dissertation topic. I understand the desire to warn and prepare people for what they are getting into if they see it, but you also want seats filled. There is undeniable humanity and heart and passion breathed into every moment of this play, but none of that warmth is evident in the publicity. It’d be a shame if people didn’t see it because they were wary of how it is promoted.

The long and the short of it is, despite any of my petty criticisms, Realizations is really good, and everyone involved should be so very proud of this production. It is so very much worth your time, so please go see it, and support locally-created, independent theatre.