The Intergalactic Nemesis:

BettyJo Roby

Salvage Vanguard Theater performed The Intergalactic Nemesis Saturday night at the Palace Theater. This most recent production in the ONStage! series, organized by Palace Theater Program Coordinator Patricia vonMechow, was a dramatized radio broadcast unlike most typical stage performances.

The plot was basic science fiction: two world-famous reporters, Molly Sloan (Lee Eddy) and Timmy Mendez (David Higgins), stumble upon Mysterion (Michael Joplin), a sinister man with the power to turn human beings into zombies. After being rescued by Ben Wilcott (Brent Werzner), a mysterious man from the future, the three set off to investigate an alien species that Ben says will take over the earth. The announcer (Jason Neulander) narrated the piece and introduced commercial breaks.

The set up was also basic: the entire cast of this play was five actors, who filled more than nine roles. Set in 1933, this piece features period costumes and occasional props, usually various hats, to signify changes in roles. Actors also posed in signature stances when their names were called, as a way to further clarify roles.

The soundtrack was performed live by a single musician on piano and organ, and the sound effects were created live, using various props which were set up on a table at the front of the stage.

The five actors share two old fashioned microphones, as if in a real radio broadcast, acting out emotions and gestures in place. Actors often elaborately faked kisses or running, as if to make the show’s status as a radio performance clearer. Aside from the prop table for the live sound effects, the piano, organ, microphones and seats for the actors not participating in a scene, there was no real stage set, except for the red neon signs indicating when the broadcast was “On the Air,” or when the audience was expected to provide “Applause,” like a real studio audience would.

Despite the auditory nature of the performance, the visual cues taken on by the actors were clearly executed for a first hand audience. Flashing lights were added to mark emergencies, or the party’s arrival in the creepy Castle Cragmore, where they first met Mysterion.

Throughout the performance, four people who the program designated as “local celebrities” performed commercials for Hamilton businesses who donated prizes for the drawing that took place at the end of the fifteen minute intermission. “Local Celebrities” included Raj Bellani, Hugh Humphrey, Donna Moran and Alexandra Yacavone.

Before the performance and during intermission, Salvage Vanguard Theater sold props such as those used to create the live sound, as well as “The Intergalactic Nemesis” comic books. The children in attendance seemed to enjoy these, and the room was filled with the hum of noisemakers during intermission.

Salvage Vanguard Theater is a nonprofit arts organization based out of Austin, Texas, and attempts to create fun, nontraditional theater for their audiences.The ONStage! series at the Palace Theater will have one more performance before the end of the semester, “An Evening with Groucho,” which will be May 3 at 8 p.m. Don’t miss your last opportunity to see an ONStage! performance before the end of the semester!