FALMOUTH – Scary? Not so much. Bawdy? Definitely.
You would expect no less from the Falmouth Theatre Guild’s production of Mel Brooks’ new musical “Young Frankenstein” opening May 2 at Highfield Theater in Falmouth.
Brian Switzer of Woods Hole, who is co-producing the show, put together a back stage-style promotional video about the production that hints at its eccentric charms.
The video features cast members in character talking about “the Monster” and the viewer gets brief glimpses of the notorious green-faced one.
Switzer said his goal was to give people a taste of what the show will be like without giving away any surprises.
“You don’t want to give away too much but you want to entice the viewer,” Switzer said. “It’s a delicate balance. The director [Davien Gould] told me many times not give away too much of the monster,” who happens to be played by her husband, Matthew Gould.
“I think I succeeded,” Switzer said.
He said filming the monster, who is seen as a seemingly enormous presence lumbering around back stage at Highfield Theater, was trial and error.
“I took a ton of footage of him in many locations and used only about 20 seconds of it.
“In the end, I always put him in slow motion. It seemed to play best that way,” he said.
Switzer conceived of the promotional video, wrote and directed it, and provided the voice over.
“I wanted to do something that was really made for video,” Switzer said. “So often people do promos like this and think they can just shoot scenes from the show. The problem with this is that the show is made for the stage. My goal was to show the fun that was involved with ‘Young Frankenstein.’ The cast being silly and talking directly to the camera was the perfect vehicle.”
There was no script, per say, but Switzer said he knew in his head exactly what he wanted: actors talking about the monster.
During the taping, a couple of the performers ad-libbed. “I think those may have been the best clips,” he said.
He said most of the segments with the actors were done in one take.
“They are all hams at heart and it was easy to get willing participants to cozy up to the camera,” he said.
Switzer’s spooky-sounding voiceover is a highlight of the video. He said he was going for Vincent Price. “I’m not sure I even got close,” he said.
One special challenge in producing a promotional video for a theatrical production is not infringing on copyright laws. The Falmouth Theatre Guild purchases the rights to put on the play but not to broadcast the script or the music.
Switzer had that very much in mind when he conceived the video.
“You have to be careful about that fine line. I’m not sure the royalty houses care too much about our small theater promos but I stayed away from the actual music and lines from the show,” he said.
Switzer had one final message: “People should watch the promo but more importantly come and watch the actual ‘Young Frankenstein’ at Highfield Theater. Not only will they see a great show, the mystery of the monster will be revealed!”
– Laura M. Reckford