Monday, 1 September 2008

The Tell-Tale Heart by Edgar Allan Poe. Narrated by Derek Banner.

A new audiobook from Radio Theatre Group
The Tell-Tale Heart
by Edgar Allan Poe
Narrated by Derek Banner
'A masterpiece of Gothic Horror!"

Radio Theatre Group’s production of The Tell-Tale Heart is available free. Left-click on the link below to play or right-click and select ‘save target’ to download

The Tell-Tale Heart

Derek Banner
Narrator of The Tell-Tale Heart

A talented and versatile performer, Derek will be appearing on stage in October 2008 at The Ramshorn Theatre in Glasgow as Randall P. McMurphy in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest.
Other recent stage credits include Mitch in A Streetcar Named Desire by Tennessee Williams, Bob in Beyond Therapy by Christopher Durang, as Lysander in Midsummer Night’s Dream by William Shakespeare and Abe in Knock Knock by Jules Feiffer.
Derek has also performed in several productions for Radio Theatre Group, including Harry Lime in The Third Man, George Bailey in It’s a Wonderful Life, Tom Brown in The Legionnaire and the Lady and Sherlock Holmes in The Musgrave Ritual.

Contacting Derek Banner
Derek can be contacted on Casting Call and MySpace.

(Director’s Notes)

The Tell-Tale Heart has been a favourite story of mine for a long time. I can’t remember if I read it first or heard some old actor reading it, or it could have been some long-forgotten movie version I once saw. Rediscovering it has been quite a pleasure. It’s one of those stories that resonates for me, it emerged from the depths of my memory, like it’s never really been far away. I even half-remembered some of the words, especially towards the end. It’s memorable because it’s so chilling – a glimpse into the mind of a madman. It’s uncomfortable listening to a murderer who thinks he’s sane, who thinks his actions are justified, but it’s so well written that it’s strangely compelling at the same time. I love the game that Poe plays with the reader. You’re horrified by what you hear, but you can’t dismiss this character either.

If the urge to create or perform requires drive, passion, then Derek has that in abundance – which kind of made him the first choice in my mind for the role. The Tell-Tale Heart is thrilling glimpse into the darker side of human nature and Derek, I know, has the qualities as a performer to deal with the intensity of the role.

So there was a gap in my schedule, and I knew I had to take the opportunity to record. I just love the rehearsal process, whether it’s for a play or a book, whether it’s 6 weeks or in this case, just 3 days.

Working one on one with a single actor for hours at a time is also quite a thrilling experience. I wish I could do more of that. But the days would have to be twice as long.

However, when we were recording, I didn’t really yet know, what I wanted to do in terms of music or sound effects. Derek I knew was learning lines for Cuckoo’s Nest. So I knew I had to deal with the performance side of the project quickly and efficiently.

It’s taken almost a month of lying on the floor and listening to almost my entire music collection to decide what to do.

The sound design – at first – was going to be quite naturalistic – ticking clocks, creaking doors, heartbeats and so on.

But the more I listened, the more I realised that wasn’t really what I wanted to do anymore with this. To a certain extent, if you want to be naturalistic, you have to do it at the time, so that the performance is delivered in concert with those effects and there’s a minimum of editing required.

And I’ll be doing plenty of that with the plays coming up soon. So rightly or wrongly, I’ve taken a less naturalistic rout, I’ve created a kind of inner soundtrack for the madman – to accompany the voice and sounds in his head. So the whole book now has some weird, wonderful ambient, industrial, high gothic soundtrack.

I had fun putting it together. I just got on a roll, and I couldn’t stop, before I knew it – hours had passed

When I was finished. I turned all the lights off and listened again in the dark to see if it worked.

I think it does. It’s my first experiment in ‘cut and paste’ soundtrack designing. I look forward to doing some more.

BD (1-September 2008)