The Lake Worth Monster - A Musical Odyssey

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Presented by the Hip Pocket Theatre

September 16, 2016 - October 16, 2016
Friday - Sunday

Gates open at 7 PM
Curtain at 8:15 PM

Rated PG-13

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by Johnny Simons and Douglas Balentine

A Note from the Director
This play is dedicated to Douglas Balentine. I knew Doug fairly well. We wrote 26 shows together for Hip Pocket Theatre and loved each other as brothers. He was a complex, deeply sensitive artist and I mourn his passing each day of my life.

Our first collaboration was
Out Where the West Begins, a bicentennial production about the history of old Fort Worth, produced at Casa Mañana. We later reworked that show and called it Cowtown, presenting it at our first home on Highway 80. During its premiere at Casa, I was writing my Master’s Thesis production called The Lake Worth Monster. I asked Doug to write and perform the music and he said, “Yeah!” The Monster became the foundation upon which Hip Pocket Theatre would grow.

Now forty years later, we’re producing it again to honor Doug’s memory and the artful contributions he made to our cause. Along with my wife
Diane and myself, Douglas Balentine was a founding member of Hip
Pocket Theatre. Without him, we wouldn’t be here tonight. So thank you Doug. And thanks to all the hundreds and hundreds of friends and artists who have made Hip Pocket Theatre a place for us to experiment and grow. And as Jimmy Joe would say “Glory Be!”
- Molemo!
Synopsis of Scenes
The space set aside for the play is blessed. Cowboy Billy is introduced and decides to write a play about his life. He begins by describing the moonlight over the lake. The surface is peaceful, but there are strong and mysterious undercurrents. The monster has been gone for many years now, but perhaps he still stirs down there, deep within(?). Billy’s reminiscences flow together into a stream of images, moving back in time to his childhood.

Act I:
The young Billy recalls his grandfather and the wonderful moments they shared on the farm. The old man drinks heavily and eventually dies. Billy blames himself for granpaw’s death and carries the guilt of his secret murder in his heart.

This guilt monster rampages for a moment. Billy, older now, is rootless. Then he meets Belstar. They woo, and she brings out the roses in his cheeks. She is fond of wild roses, but careless of the thorns. Belstar loves to grow things and tends her garden well. Billy grows too, and for a while is happy. But Billy meets Luna Moon, and the monster stirs within. She is irresistible; Billy floats skyward. The monster is in control of Billy now. Belstar leaves with their child, and Billy is left alone.


Act II:

Billy goes to New Orleans to forget his troubles. He lives the wild life and it drives him crazy. Billy is found lonely on the streets on Mardi Gras day. Billy falls into a deep sleep and dreams. He is drowning in his own lake and must keep swimming to keep wormy things under the surface from sucking him down.

The monster appears to him. Billy searches its aged eyes. Billy weeps. Only by “becoming as little children” can Billy find the strength to kill the monster. Bill points his gun at the monster and a part of himself dies. After his dream, Billy awakens.

Cleansed of the monster, Billy retires to the country. He lives on the lake now; lives there for the sake of his soul. There are still secrets swimming deep down inside the lake. The monster must be there but Billy has been reborn. We leave him as he slowly sips his beer.
- notes by Bruce Balentine
This Place in Space
I Live Out on the Lake
It Seems the Perfect Day
Tonight Moonlight
Fish Giggle
He’s Been Gone for Many Years Now
You Can Feel Somethin Comin
The Monster Holds the Answer
Setting Sun
I Use the Moon as My Mirror
Act I
From Here to There and Back Again
Playing Out Under the Sycamore Trees
Quietly Slipped Inside
In the Kingdom of the Father
Pour the Whisky
The Old Man Must Die
Dreams of Rivers and Blood
Hey Ol’ Man
Conceived in Love
Oh Yes, He Died
Time Brings Many Things to Light
The Lake Worth Monster Seems to be Impatient
Time Passes Slow
A Runaway Boy
Billy Rose
Billy & Belstar
A Ladybug Dances
From Here to There and Back Again
Belstar’s Garden
Adam Gathered Wood
Conceived in Love
Sleepy Town Time
Use the Moon as a Mirror
Come Unto Me
Why Don’t You Peel It Back
I Hollered Mercy, Mr. Monster
Unplanted Rows
I Wish You the Best
Lake Worth Monster Blues
Leo Sends His Regrets
Act II
Entr’acte - Sitting In Your Chair
The Sky Stretches Out
Hear the Wind Blow
I’m Going to Trip On Down to New Orleans
Pack Up My Life in a Cardboard Container
Rue Royal
Run Into It
This Place In Space
The Gypsy Band Raves On
Off With the Crown
The Naked Truth
You Have So Much Lovin’
A Life Hangin’ By the Bone
Bury Me Not
The River Flows
Billy Dreams
Slither and Slide
Swim, Billy, Swim
The Monster
You Ain’t Nothin’ But Who You Are
Except Ye Be Converted
The Monster Sheds His Mask
He’s Retirin’ to the Country
From Here to There and Back Again
I Live Out On the Lake

James Maynard
Brian Cook
Don Arnett
Douglas Balentine (recorded)
Frieda Austin
Patti Littlefield
Luna Moon
Carmen Scott
Patti Littlefield
Rue Royal
Delace McMahan
Patti Littlefield
Thad Isbell
Quentin McGown
Christina Cranshaw
Grover Coulson
Young Billy
Jack E. Lovett (recorded)
Jeff Stanfield
Rebo Hill
Rick Gutierrez
James Maynard
Jeff Stanfield
Rebo Hill
Christina Cranshaw
Additional Vocals
Peggy Bott Kirby
Elysia Ann Worcester
Joe Rogers
Darrin Kobetich
Bass, Flute, Trumpet
Chris White
Eddie Dunlap
Production Staff
Johnny Simons
Musical Producer
Bruce Balentine
Musical Director
Joe Rogers
Set Designer
Dennis Runge
Lighting Designer
M. Barrett Cleveland
Costume Designer
Annie O. Cleveland
Sound Effects Designer
Bruce Balentine
Projection Designers
Alvis Ballew
Peter Petry
Johnny Simons
Mark E. Walker
Lake Worth Monster Puppet Designer
Basil Twist
Marionettes Designed and Built by
James Maynard
Stage Manager
JoAnn Gracey
Lighting Consultants
Nikki DeShea Smith
Jay Isham
Simon Cleveland
Set Decoration
James Maynard
Elise Walker
Light Board Op
Ryan Riley
Sound Board Op
Bruce Payne
Projectionist/Sound Effects
Sarah McDonnell
Publicity Photos/Videographer/DVD Production
Robert Bourdage
Lake Worth Monster Puppet Build Crew
James Maynard
Annie O. Cleveland
Lorca Simons
River Barley
Barbara Wooten Meece
Amanda Merrill
Diane Simons
Frieda Austin
Lake Simons
Set Construction Crew
M. Barrett Cleveland
Robert Bourdage
Dennis Runge
Derek Salazar
Damek Salazar
Allen Dean
C. Lee Gibson
James Maynard
Bruce Payne
Brandon Meyer
Costume Construction Crew
Susan Austin
C. Lee Gibson
Yvonne Johnson
James Maynard
Presley (PJ) Thomas
Theatre Staff
Artistic Director
Johnny Simons
Diane Simons
Technical Director
Robert Bourdage
Concessions Manager
Michele Bourdage
Box Office Manager
Mallory Bownds
Office Manager
Rebo Hill
Grants & Outreach Coordinator
Peggy Bott Kirby
Backyard Music Coordinator
Melinda Wood Allen
Social Media Coordinator
Frieda Austin
Artistic Associates
Lorca Simons
Lake Simons
Special Thanks To:
Joe Waller for Basil’s transportation. Barbara Wooten Meece and Bob Meece for housing Basil Twist and helping with the Monster build. Scott Ferree for the Sound Board and other audio equipment. Bruce Payne for Speakers and other audio equipment and almost single-handedly installing and testing all of the audio equipment. And for helping out with set construction. Bill and Sharon Benge. Jay Isham for paint can lights honoring Douglas Balentine. Ryan Riley for assisting with lighting installation. C. Lee Gibson for diving into all areas of production from lighting installation, to wardrobe and monster building. Susanne Cowan and the staff at Alphagraphics on Camp Bowie for supporting our printing needs. Richard and Larry Strittmatter at CirraNet for our Internet and website hosting.

And of course, Johnny and Diane Simons and Douglas Balentine for creating the Hip Pocket Theatre.

Basil Twist

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Basil Twist has been a friend of the Hip Pocket Theatre for many years. In 2008, he designed and constructed the beast costumes for The Island of Dr. Moreau. Basil is a third generation puppeteer and the sole American to graduate from the Ecole Supérieure Nationale des Arts de la Marionette in Charleville-Mezieres, France. Broadway: The Addams Family, The Pee Wee Herman Show, and the upcoming Charlie and The Chocolate Factory. Original creations include Symphonie Fantastique, La Belle Dormant Nel Bosco, Dogugaeshi, Hansel and Gretel, Behind The Lid, Arias with a Twist, Seafoam Sleepwalk, The Rite of Spring and Sisters Follies and Petrushka which appeared at The Fort Worth Symphony and at Hip Pocket Theatre. Awards: Obie, Drama Desk, New York Innovative Theatre, Henry Hewes, UNIMA, Bessies, Guggenheim, USA Artists Doris Duke Performing Artist, 2015 MacArthur Fellow. He lives in NYC, where he leads The Dream Music Puppetry Program at HERE.
Backyard Musicians
September 16 (Friday)
Clint Niosi
September 17 (Saturday)
Darrin Kobetich
September 18 (Sunday)
Melinda Wood Allen
September 23 (Friday)
Salt Rock Rounders
September 24 (Saturday)
Mike Kelley
September 25 (Sunday)
Clint Niosi
September 30 (Friday)
October 1 (Saturday)
Hilary Tipps & Steve Obermiller
October 2 (Sunday)
Chris Curtis
October 7 (Friday)
Salt Rock Rounders
October 8 (Saturday)
John Jenkins
October 9 (Sunday)
Mike Kelley
October 14 (Friday)
John Jenkins
October 15 (Saturday)
Darrin Kobetich
October 16 (Sunday)
Melinda Wood Allen

Photos by Robert Bourdage

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Brian Cook as Billy with Frieda Austin as Belstar and in back L-R: Delace McMahon, Rebo Hill and Jeff Stanfield.
Brian Cook as Billy and Frieda Austin as Belstar.
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Christina Cranshaw (center) as Baby with L-R: Rebo Hill, Frieda Austin, Brian Cook, Jeff Stanfield and Delace McMahon.
Brian Cook as Billy
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Puppets designed and built by James Maynard. Puppeteers (L-R): Rebo Hill, James Maynard and Jeff Stanfield.
Carmen Scott as Luna Moon (foreground) with L-R: Christina Cranshaw (ensemble) and Delace McMahon (as Rue Royal)
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Jeff Stanfield as a Monster
Brian Cook as Billy and Carmen Scott as Luna Moon
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Jeff Stanfield - mime
Frieda Austin as Belstar
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Delace McMahon as Rue Royal
Delace McMahon as Rue Royal