Lights! Camera! Radio! Ok, so skip the "camera" part and add ďintergalactic interspecies adventure" instead. Then you'll have some semblance of cARTel's second session of Sound/Stage, a live one act radio play. Embracing old school Hollywood glamour, we hit historic El Cid once again to deliver our second installment, playwright Matt Chester's "Space Rover," directed by cARTel founding member Jack de Sena. The cast list featured a gush-worthy roster of local celebs from the comedy and theater scene, including Upright Citizens Brigade as well as members of cARTelís artistic ensemble and in-house clown troupe, Everybody Nose. Pre-show, we treated our audience to a 10-minute preview of Family Forest, an upcoming, interactive show experience.
The main event followed the story of Rover, a dumb, but lovable canine who gets caught up in thousand year space war pitting animals against humans and single-handedly saves the day (with a little inspiration from Cesar Milan). Live effects enhanced stage and story as foley artist Danny Tieger crafted a rich soundscape, with everything from a vintage recorder standing in for an ice cream truck to an old Gamecube controller mimicking our protagonist pupís idle chewing.
Given all of the Dapper Dans and Dames in attendance, and not wanting to be outdone on style, we made sure to bring on the glamour by bookending the play with an opening cocktail reception featuring classic drinks with a cARTel twist, live music and red carpet photos, before closing out with complementary dessert courtesy of Thyme Cafe and Market post-show.
Thanks to the amazing work of sound-recording genius Michael Cooper, cARTel is able to offer an audio recording of the entire event, including the reading itself and the introduction and post-script speeches of event producer Dan Halden and artistic director Negin Singh.
We're offering these recordings on a pay what you can basis. Your donation will help make future events like this possible, so click below to donate through Paypal. Thanks!
Matt Chester is a playwright, screenwriter and overall good guy. He has written three previous cARTel productions: The Fabulous Adventures of Alan Swift, Two Figures and the Living Room Tour production of Epilogue, and is a semi-retired member of the famous cARTel clown troupe, Everybody Nose. Matt also has a Hollywood Fringe Festival show In Dream that he would really like you to check out. And in case you're wondering, yes, he did come up with the idea for this show when he was nine.
Jack De Sena, founding member of cARTel and all around awesome-face, is best known for his work as Sokka on the beloved Nickelodeon animated series Avatar: The Last Airbender. He also starred on the sketch comedy series All That for four years and, during his run, tied with Logan Lerman for the 2005 Young Artist Award for Best Performance in a TV Series. He currently stars in Huluís first original series, Battleground, co-produced by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer, The Amazing Spiderman).
Anne Lane studied theater at UCLA, where she appeared as a lead in the Hulu original series, Dorm Life, was a top three finalist in the iO West improv competition, The X-ecution, and began writing and improvising with the sketch and video team The Wait List. She also performs at the Upright Citizens Brigade theater as an improviser on the Harold team, Scandal!, and is a big Richard Feynman fan.
Ashley Opstad is an actor, teacher, director and arts administrator. She directed Jack De Sena's original stageplay, Day One and So On, as part of cARTel's annual Living Room Tour. She began her career at The Orange County High School of the Arts where she taught various courses. In addition to teaching, Ashley created the Ultimate Improv High School League, sponsored Thespian Troupe 6826 and sat on the California State Thespian Board from 2006-2008. Currently, Ashley is the Educational Programs Associate at Center Theatre Group and Artistic Director at The Improv Space in Westwood, CA.
Chris Smith graduated UCLA's School of Theater, Film, and Television in 2007 with a B.A. in Theater-Acting. He has gone on to co-write, direct and star in the hit web series Dorm Life, as well as write, direct and produce his own feature film entitled Shadow in the Trees on Netflix. Chris has been a professional juggler since the age of twelve and has performed with Cirque du Soleil as a physical actor, and most recently toured with Blue Man Group as a Blue Man.
Jessica McKenna was born in Richard Nixon's hometown of Yorba Linda, CA. She has a Bachelor's Degree in Theatre from Northwestern, where she first studied improv as a member of The Titanic Players and Mee Ow. She has studied at UCBTNY, UCBTLA, the Magnet Theatre and The Groundlings. Jessica is also proud to be an actor, director and teaching artist with the Story Pirates, an award-winning children's theatre company that takes stories written by kids and turns them into awesome shows.
Sebastian Kadlecik is originally from the Bay Area and came to Los Angeles after receiving his BA in Theatre from Santa Clara University and his MFA in Acting from Southern Methodist University. He is currently a member of the cARTel Artistic Ensemble. Sebastian created Penguins Vs. Possums, which has recently manifested into a web comic and comic book.
Danny Tieger graduated from Skidmore College with a BS in theater, which he continues to use on a daily basis. He performs regularly with The Younger Statesmen and spends his days writing songs for the licensing company Extreme Music, which works on TV and film projects all over the world. Danny is a member of The Story Pirates, a theater company that inspires children to write stories and then performs them across the country.
Zach Reino grew up in Santa Barbara, California, which probably explains why he thinks most people just need to chill out a little. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Drama from UC Irvine, and is a house improviser at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theater in Los Angeles. He is also a teacher/performer for the Story Pirates. He's way into this radio play.
Ali Ghandour is a founding member of the improv/film team "The Wait List" where he writes, produces, and acts in online sketches and short films. Ali improvises at Upright Citizens Brigade LA on the Harold Team "Scandal!", and at The Improv Space in Westwood on mainstage team "The Wait List." Ali also teaches classes at The Improv Space and serves on their Directors Circle. The rest of Ali's time is spent on freelance writing, voice-acting, concerts, stealing music.