Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS):
Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities
TIWY [Take It With You] EPISODE:
COVID - A MITCHELL P. CRUMPLETON CHRISTMAS EXPLOSION SPECTACULAR WITH ALL OF THE TRIMMINGS
by Blake Thomas
This script and storyboard were written by Blake Thomas and created with the intention of being produced by the performers of Take It With You, the nonprofit organization that produces hour-long, originally scripted, live radio theatre podcasts. These productions include voice actors, original music, and sound effects and are normally performed in front of a live studio audience in Duluth, Minnesota. Blake is the vice executive director and artistic director for Take It With You. In this script, the story begins with a scientist, Mitchell P. Crumpelton, and his assistant, Lesma, in a lab as they exchange holiday gifts. They engage with each other in comedic banter as a way to introduce the characters. Lesma’s gift to the scientist is Donder, one of Santa’s reindeer. She reveals that she acquired the reindeer after inventing an “interdimensional machine that can visit fictional characters''. After a discussion about what is real and what is not, they decide that since Christmas is only days away, they must return Donder to Santa’s reindeer team at the North Pole. What follows is a series of misadventures and crash landings in “The Machine”. Interspersed throughout the production are multiple comedic and holiday themed musical performances and sound effects, including the percussive use of coconut halves to depict reindeer hooves. On their way to the North Pole, they crash-land in other locations, both real and fictional, picking up characters along the way. One miscalculation lands them at a bar in Duluth, Minnesota in the year 2014 where they engage in conversation and attempt to explain the COVID-19 pandemic and the lockdowns in the future year of 2020 to a confused group of people. Three of these characters from 2014 join them on their mission. When they finally arrive at the North Pole, they meet Santa, who is high, and Rudolf, the red-nosed reindeer. The crew apologizes for a tragic error, the problem they caused is solved, and they take off again. The final scene is back at the bar in 2014 where they attempt one more time to explain the gravity of the future COVID-19 pandemic. They end the final scene in the production with the characters enjoying not having to socially distance and they all join together in song. Early in the script there is a brief intermission for a fund-raising session, with people using rotary phones to mimic the fundraising scenes from decades past, while actually fundraising online. This is what Blake has to say about this current project, “During the COVID quarantine we were not able to perform our 7th season. Amidst these challenges we decided to write a Christmas Special that we were planning to perform in a live capacity without an audience. This would have taken place in the Teatro Theater at Zeitgeist in downtown Duluth. We had it plotted out so we could perform at 12 feet apart in an empty space. Ultimately it became too risky to do that with the Minnesota COVID regulations, and just common sense in protecting each other and being safe. So, this is the script we would have performed if we had the chance to do so. One day we will, but just not as soon as we'd hoped.”
Stories of Wisdom from Bodies in Separation (SWaBS): Archiving the Coronavirus Pandemic Through the Lens of Humanities has been made possible by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act.
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this project, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.