CINEMATIC TITANIC employs a cast from Mystery Science Theater 3000 and takes a terribly bad movie to new heights of enjoyment by “riffing” the actors, the action and everything in between. Billed as 600 laughs or riffs per movie, this satiric genius will play for two performances Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. at the Belding Theater, part of the Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford.
According to founder Joel Hodgson, “the commentary by the acting troupe is at the heart of the show.” It is an outgrowth of Mystery Science Theater 3000, created twenty years ago, that performed two hundred shows to great reviews. The hit programming won the Peabody Award, received Emmy nominations and was named one of the top TV shows ever by Time Magazine.
As for CINEMATIC TITANIC, which grew out of the original, Joel Hodgson claims there is no problem finding terrible movies to riff. To date, there are fourteen labels in their arsenal. An original cast including Trace Beaulieu, J. Elvis Weinstein, Frank Conniff and Mary Jo Pehl, performs a live concert focusing on the movie’s strengths and weaknesses. The evening is scripted bit by bit, by the actors working together. The 500-600 jokes are “married all together into the master script as section by section each is painted with funny lines.”
The movies chosen, for practical reasons, depend on the licensing fees the group can afford or if the movie is available in the public domain. While the producers of the selected films may complain, the actors in them like the attention, aren’t offended and welcome the royalties.
CINEMATIC TITANIC will soon celebrate their one hundredth show over four years, doing two shows a month every other weekend. Hodgson brags that he can “riff any movie” and the fans of this entertainment form find it “uncommonly funny.”
For tickets ($35), call the Bushnell, 166 Capitol Avenue, Hartford at 860-987-5900 or online at www.bushnell.org. Performances are Thursday, February 2 at 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m.
If you are into pop culture, this cult show may be just the unique theatrical experience for you.