August 4, 2012
On Saturday, August 4th the Double Nickels Theatre Company hosted a story telling event at the Corcoran Gallery of Art. Double Nickels delivered a live performance that was enhanced by the inclusion of a pre-recorded story entitled “The Day the Flying Saucer Crashed into the Old Soldiers Home.” The story was based on real life experiences of the author, Melvin Ford, a native Washingtonian. Dynamic sound effects and a hand painted radio provided attendees with a unique storytelling experience.
About 30 people sat in on the reading while others peered down from the second floor atrium. Kids, babies, adults and writers all sat mesmerized, as the recording of Modest Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” heightened the intrigue as the story unfolded. The voice of a young boy, describing the night that he and friends heard a loud crash on the grounds of the Old Soldiers’ Home takes us on a fantastic journey through the grounds of child’s paradise. For years the young boy and his friends thought the loud sound had been made by spacemen crash landing a flying saucer. What the boys actually heard was the “destructive power of lightning,” a fact that was discovered eight years later when the young boy, now a young adult was attending college. Throughout the life of this story, the main characters voice transitioned from age 11 to age 19 and then to that of a man. Voice actors Alexander Leonard (age 13), Victor Leonard (age 16), and Igwe Bandele, a product of Motown, were all used to help convey the different parts of the story as told by the Author.
“I’m just happy to be able to have this opportunity to share one of my many stories,” says the author, Melvin Ford. “Times have changed and storytelling just doesn’t exist the way it did when I was growing up.” Ford grew up not far from the Old Soldiers’ Home which is known today as the Armed Forces Retirement Home.
At the end of the reading, Ford took questions from the audience and led an engaging storytelling technique workshop hosted by the Corcoran. This storytelling event is one of the first of a series to be performed at the Corcoran as an offering of their Friends and Family program.