Hip Film Fest

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The Hip Pocket Theatre celebrates its past by working to preserve videos of shows filmed years ago. For the final weekend of the 39th Performance Season, we are bringing you the 2nd Hip Film Fest and will be presenting three shows from the 1980’s.

Friday - October 23rd at 8:15 PM
“Old Coots Read Genesis 1-8 King James Version” (1988)
Having been brought up Southern Baptist during the 1940's in old Ft Worth, I remember with awe and affection attending Sagamore Hill Baptist Church over on Rand Street, with my grandmother, Memaw Dowdy, watching and listening to the no holds barred preacher, Brother Fred Swank, rant and rave about adventures described so dramatically in the Good Book. I was and am even to this day, peculiarly fascinated by the Genesis story of how it all began and how all this stuff came to be.

While in college in TCU, I created a little pantomime with a small ensemble of theatre students, called
Eden.  Later on I devised a one-man show utilizing the same story.  As theatre plays such an important role in religion and spiritual expression, I've always been interested in exploring ways of presenting intangible, divine ideas on stage in a way that would entertain and hopefully enlighten without irreverence.

Employing  the idea of an elderly preacher as pantomimic narrator and using old 78 records as a soundtrack, I devised “
Old Coots Read Genesis 1- 8, King James Version" presenting the story as written with a cast of talented mimes describing action and drama through movement with no dialogue other than recorded narrative.

The result of that experiment was presented Up Stairs At the White Elephant in 1988.  It was a happy time for all involved.

“Old Coots" was revived at Oak Acres several years later and again at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina  but the original production and the actors involved warm my memory, making me proud of our efforts, and honored to share this video with you now.
— JS
Saturday - October 24th at 8:15 PM
“Nova’s Shady Grove” (1987)
Once upon a time there were several quaint beer joints peppering the shoreline all around Lake Worth. One of these joints was Nova's Shady Grove, which many of us young lake rats frequented on a fairly regular basis.  Nova's was a quick getaway from the theatre and all Hip Pocket folk loved to go there and drink cold beer on a hot summer afternoon while admiring the beautiful lake view from a big roll-up garage door that was pretty much always open to the sweet lake breeze.  There were always colorful characters hanging about - Catfish Charley was one.  I've utilized his character in many a play.

Charley and others there inspired Doug and I to write a little fantasy play about the place, combining the feel of the joint with our own personal feelings concerning friendship, love, death, birth, and art.  We wrote "Nova's" early on during our collaboration and I've always loved the piece as it reminds me of those ancient youthful days of yore in our theatre's history when many elders of our tribe were inspirational in the creation of such work.

"Nova's Shady Grove" was produced twice, first on Highway 80 inside George's Backdoor, then again Upstairs at the White Elephant in the Fort Worth Stockyards in 1987.  Many in the revival of the play were original cast members.  The video we are presenting is of that production.  The premiere of the play was never filmed, therefore lost forever, except in nostalgic memory.
--- JS
Sunday - October 25th at 8:15 PM
“Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein” (1984)
Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein was Johnny's and my way of exploiting the great impersonations done by John Murphy and Ric Swain. Their rendition of "Who's On First" had been a big hit at fundraisers and it just seemed natural to build a show around them. I did the adaption from the film's script with the Oak Acres stage in mind and I staged the show during rehearsals. Johnny then directed the actors and added those insane HPT touches, like having Pat Dias play the scientist as the Nutty Professor and including Memaw, Lobsterman, etc. The result was one of the funniest and most popular HPT shows up to that time and possibly of all time! The videotape was shot during the final Halloween night performance with even the audience in costumes! Pure hilarious mayhem from start to finish! I've always been so proud of this show. —James Maynard
Please note that these shows were originally filmed on VHS or other tape formats and sometimes lighting wasn’t optimal for filming. There are periods during a show that lighting levels are lowered for effect and this can make filming difficult. In each of the above shows, there will be short sequences in which this is true. We hope you will still enjoy seeing some of your favorite actors perform in a play you may not have seen before.

We realize that watching a video of a live play is never like seeing it in person. We believe, none-the-less, these treasures from the theatre’s past need to be preserved as part of our historical record so they can continue to be enjoyed into the future.