Saturday, March 31, 2012
So - what is "OTRaoke"?
Well, of course, "OTR" is an acronym for Old Time Radio.
"Karaoke" is a portmanteau of Japanese kara "empty", and okesutora "orchestra" - a form of interactive entertainment in which amateur singers sing along with recorded music using a microphone and public address system. The music is typically a well-known pop song minus the lead vocal. It is also a term used by recording engineers translated as "empty track" meaning there is no vocal track.
The acronymical-portmanteau "OTRaoke" means an entire Old Time Radio show (including music and sound effects) recorded without the star. Performers read the role of the star from a script, and their performance is superimposed on the recording, creating a show in which THEY ARE THE STAR. They take home a recording of their performance on cd, play it for friends and family, and become stars themselves! And for whatever reason, I thought that OTRaoke had a better ring to it than KaraOTR...
The Theatre Of The Mindless group has made up a handful of OTRaoke shows, which will be featured at this year's Cincinnati Old Time Radio Convention. Here is an excerpt from one of those shows - you can give it a try right now! Simply play the audio file, and read the lines labeled "Blanche". Blanche has been killing people at a ski resort (even though Blanche is evil, she's the star...and who doesn't like to play the villain?), and now she is feeling menaced by the ghost of one of her victims! You may want to right click and choose "Open In New Tab" or "Open In New Window" so this page remains active (so you can read the script below!)...
Link to file: Sample-VoiceOfDeath
You can stream directly from the player at the link, or download the file from the spot just below the player. If you download it, and open up the file info, you will see that the lines of the script are embedded within the mp3 file.
Here is the script for the sample:
When the fifth day dawned bright and clear, Dan suggested a long ski run, and Blanche eagerly agreed. After skiing a few minutes, she called out...
(nervous) Dan! Dan, we - we aren't going through the canyon, are we?!?
Why, of course we are.
D - Dan, let's go around it this time.
That's three miles further on! What's wrong with going through the canyon? Oh, uh, is it because that's where Gerald died?
Yes, I - I can't do it Dan.
Now, look, I - I hope you aren't brooding about Gerald's death, Blanche. You mustn't brood.
I - I - I'm not brooding, but I – Dan, have you heard a voice calling outside the house the last few nights?
Yes! I've waked up several times thinking I heard Gerald's voice, calling out in the storm!
Oh, Blanche, look - you - you heard the wind howling. Now come on, will you? We've got to get through the canyon, that's the only way to counter your nerves.
That a girl! Now only another couple of hundred yards and we'll be out of the canyon.
Oh, let's hurry Dan! This is where it happened.
Come on along, then, if you want to hurry.
(Ghost voice) Blanche...Blanche!
It's Gerald...it's Gerald's voice!
(a little distant) Blanche, come on.
(ghost voice) Blanche...Blanche...this is where you killed me!
Oh no! No!
(further distant) Blanche, why have you stopped? Come on!
(ghost voice) I'm dead, Blanche...you killed me!
Please be aware that this version of OTRaoke at the convention is to be headphones-only: no P.A. speakers, no audience. Your performance will be recorded to cd, and you get the cd. Maybe in the future it will turn into more of a real karaoke style event, where an audience can listen and cheer and jeer (fun, right?).
So there you have it - a mixture of mid-century entertainment with 21st-century technology! Hopefully, it will be an interesting addition to the convention! Please drop by the booth, say "Hi!", and give it a try!