Interview with The Vampire….I mean, Rob Godbey…..about his experience with the premiere of Saint Stephen’s Dream. Thank you, Rob!
What attracted you to the Space Opera?
I ran into a Doug Imbrogno at Art Walk a few months ago and he said he was working on an interesting show for FestivALL. I was intrigued by his description of a multi-media space opera. Once it was announced I realized I knew a lot of the cast, so I was attracted by people I know and like to see perform.
What if any expectations did you have about Saint Stephen’s Dream before you saw the show?
I’m not sure I had any. I wasn’t even sure it would be musical, since “space opera” was used to describe “Star Wars.” I would say part of the draw for me was the unexpected — not knowing what form the show would take — but comfortable with the people involved.
How would you describe being a member of the audience in the small space?
It worked really well. The space was intimate and drew the audience in. It wasn’t hard to believe you were in a room on a ship, in orbit. It invited the audience to participate and be part of the show without the awkwardness of many dinner-theater shows.
What was your favorite part of the experience?
When the band played “Enjoy Yourself,” one audience member got up and started dancing. Other members of the audience were moving in their seats and there was a cast member (the Shu’a) dancing away from the stage. The whole room became part of the show.
Which was your favorite character and why?
Gaia de la Phoenix (the Shu’a played by Kathleen Coffee) was my favorite character. She did a great job staying in character with a difficult role. By flitting around the room she pulled the audience attention from the stage and to the larger space of the room. Because she was fun to watch this worked. It expanded the performance and made the room or space part of the performance.
What was the take-away message, or was there more than one?
There were several not-so-new messages that were delivered in interesting ways. We are breaking the planet (and it’s the only one we have). Forgetting the past doesn’t really insure a peaceful future. Censorship is bad. Power corrupts. Individuality versus the collective. And, probably some more. These are good messages, so the fact that they’re not-so-new, doesn’t diminish them. The show’s format allows for many related messages without it coming across too unfocused.
What was your read on the crowd response?
The crowd response was very positive. I think everyone enjoyed the show.
Do you think Charleston shifted as a result of this performance? Why or why not?
I think the show was very positive for Charleston, because something original and interesting happened right here, with local talent (greater Charleston area or WV). As far as shifted, I think the audience was already there, and small. Shifting would require a bigger and probably not as receptive audience to see some of these ideas. Maybe the show should tour high schools in WV and shift small audiences one-at-a-time (or another population).
What one word would you use to describe Doug Imbrogno?
Oh, I found this very difficult. I went round and round and arrived at Aware versus Discerning and neither captures the quiet humor behind it all; or maybe the one word is “Goulash”, but that’s too uncoordinated.
OK, I’ll go with “Aware,” with the caveat that it is said with a sly smile.